12,000. That’s the number of residential fires each year in Canada. Most of the time, they are caused by distraction or inappropriate behavior or improper installation. As a landlord, you can’t control your tenant’s every single move but you can make sure that your property is equipped to face a fire. 

Important for long and short term rental 

Whether you rent your property to a long-term tenant or on platforms such as Airbnb, fire safety should always be one of your top priorities. Firstly because it is your – legal – duty as a landlord to ensure safety in your apartment and secondly because repair cost for fire damage can rise pretty high. 

What you need to do   

You will find below a list of things you must do and things that fire departments recommend you to do : 

  • Install and make sure smoke alarms are working and maintained in the rental 
  • Test smoke alarms when replacing the battery or when electrical work has been done on your property
  • Install and make sure carbon monoxide alarms are working and maintained in the rental (ideally near sleeping areas)
  • Test carbon monoxide alarms annually and when replacing the battery or when electrical work has been done on your property
  • Show new tenants how the smoke and carbon monoxide alarms work and test them in front of them 
  • Provide a fire extinguisher and make sure it is accessible and in good condition 
  • If needed, get your chimney cleaned at least once a year 
  • There may be a fire hydrant on your property. Make sure it is always accessible ( there should be no obstacle in a range of 1,5m around the fire hydrant) 
  • For long-term tenants: have a chat with them when they move in to go over fire safety regulations and advice, show fire exits and make sure they know how to react in case of a fire
  • For short-term guests: prepare a booklet with an evacuation plan and indication on locations of fire and carbon monoxide alarms and fire extinguisher. 
  • Make sure your insurance properly covers you. Get a quote with APRIL Rental to see if you really have the best insurance for your property 

What your tenant or guest needs to do    

Your tenants or guests also have their part to play in fire prevention. They must : 

  • Notify you promptly when smoke or carbon monoxide are not working 
  • Never remove batteries or tamper with any of the alarms 
  • If you provide a grill on your property: always make sure the burners are closed when not in use and stock propane at least 1m away from all passages
  • Unplug all devices when not in use 
  • Ask them to get an insurance. Your insurance will cover you but if let’s say your tenant accidentally cause fire and couldn’t put it out. He would have to pay for the damages done by the fire and that would be quite heavy on him or her 

As always, it’s better to prevent than cure