Fire safety review and landlord’s responsibilities. Last year we had scores of members concerned with the safety and care of not only their property but their tenants. With hurricanes, large forest fires and floods presenting major challenges they vowed to take a more active approach in preparing for disaster.

  • When was the last time you reviewed fire safety with your tenants?
  • Is it a part of your on-boarding process or do you rely on the common sense of your tenants?
  • Better yet, when was the last time you reviewed your fire safety responsibilities as a landlord?

The landlord’s fire safety responsibilities

So, legally, what are your responsibilities as a landlord?

Unfortunately, that will depend on where the property is located.

Each state has different regulations and local governments may have even more precise requirements. There are a lot of resources available to you to determine your local laws. An Internet search of “fire regulations” or “fire code” plus the name of the city will usually get you started on the right path.

A lot of that information may be a bit dense though, so you may also want to check with your local real estate investor association or a lawyer that specializes in rental property ownership. However, it’s pretty safe to say that the property will require working and maintained smoke detectors at the very least. Check out the U.S. Fire Administration’s “State-by-State Residential Smoke Alarm Requirements” publication if you’re really having a hard time getting started.

Fire safety for landlords

Of course, it’s always a good idea to be fully knowledgeable of the law and what you’re required to do, but let’s look at this another way.

No one wants to deal with the hassle of even a minor fire. It is in your best interest, from both a frustration and financial point-of-view, to do your best to protect your property from damage.

Even more than that though, the last thing you want is for someone to be hurt in your property when there was something you could have done to possibly avoid it. Even if you aren’t legally required to provide some common fire safety equipment, would you be able to cope emotionally if someone in your property died because you didn’t want the expense or hassle of providing it?