Alberta Landlords Make Sure Your Rental Property Is “Fire Safe”
Alberta landlords know the importance of maintaining our rental properties. We know that to be successful you want attractive and properties that your tenants will find comfortable and want to live in.
Experienced Alberta landlords know if the place feels like ‘home’ it will attract all the good tenants out there and lead them to want to rent from you. Who doesn’t want a nice home to live in? Bright rentals with big windows, clean, nicely decorated, with great working appliances…it’s the key to success for Alberta residential landlords.
Experienced and successful landlords also know it’s important to make sure your Alberta rental property is safe and up to legal code.
To promote all residential landlords in the province to make sure their rental property is safe the Alberta Landlords Association has launched our “Alberta Landlords Fire Safety Campaign” for 2016!
We want every landlord in in Alberta to make fire safety a priority.
To help make this happen and to save lives we contacted Tina Parker. Tina is a technical adviser at Alberta Fire Services and was very helpful.
We truly thank Tina for taking the time to answer our questions. Please see our questions and her answers below:
1. What are the responsibilities of residential landlords when it comes to fire safety?
Depending on the jurisdiction in which these properties reside in, there may be different requirements or different permitting requirements. It is best to check with the local Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) to determine what they require the landlords to complete. The AHJ is usually the local fire department or it could be the Office of the Fire Commissioner.
Here are a few examples from various areas within our province:
2. What are the rules for rental properties regarding making their property fire safe? Are there general guidelines or specific rules? Where can these be found for landlords to learn to make their rentals safe for tenants?
Often times landlords are governed more by their insurance provider to comply with codes and standards, not limited to the Alberta Fire Code.
There are Alberta Building Code and Electrical Code standards they may also need to comply with. Depending on where the rental units are in the province of Alberta, it might be best if the owners contact the local AHJ to ensure they have all the applicable permits and request an inspection of the property to ensure they meet the required code(s). Those local AHJ’s may also have a check list that would their municipalities require business owners/property owners to utilize.
Also, this website may be of assistance to you and your organization:
This site provides inspection reports that may be of interest and it also has a handbook that provides you with information from Service Alberta. This handbook reviews the Residential Tenancies Act and goes over rights and responsibilities. ( http://www.servicealberta.ca/621.cfm)
3. What are the rules for landlords when it comes to smoke detectors?
184.108.40.206. Smoke Alarms
1) Smoke alarms conforming to CAN/ULC-S531, “Smoke-Alarms,” shall be installed in accordance with Subsection 9.10.19. of Division B of the ABC in each dwelling unit.
2) Smoke alarms shall be installed by permanent connections to an electrical circuit and, when acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction, the interconnection of smoke alarms can either be hard wired or wireless so that activation of one smoke alarm will cause all alarms within both dwelling units to sound. (See Appendix A.)
3) Smoke alarms shall be installed in areas that are common to both dwelling units and connected in conformance with Sentence (2).
Please note these wordings are taken from the most current code. Depending on when the property was built/permits issued, they may need older code wordings.
4. What are the rules for landlords when it comes to carbon monoxide detectors?
220.127.116.11. Carbon Monoxide Alarms
1) Carbon monoxide alarms conforming to CSA 6.19, “Residential Carbon
Monoxide Alarming Devices,” shall be installed in accordance with Sentence
18.104.22.168.(2) of Division B of the ABC in the primary and secondary dwelling units.
2) Carbon monoxide alarms shall be installed by permanent connections to an
electrical circuit and interconnected so that the activation of one carbon monoxide alarm will cause all alarms within both dwelling units to sound. (See Appendix A.)
3) Carbon monoxide alarms shall be installed in areas that are common to both
dwelling units and connected in conformance with Sentence (2).
22.214.171.124. Inspection, Testing and Maintenance of Smoke Alarms and Carbon
1) Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms required by this Section shall be
inspected, tested and maintained in conformance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
A-126.96.36.199.(2) The interconnection of carbon monoxide alarms may be hard wired or wireless. Secondary suites that have been upgraded in accordance with the AFC 2014 are permitted to install plug-in or battery-powered carbon monoxide alarms if such installation is deemed appropriate by the authority having jurisdiction.
5. Regarding enforcement of the laws, what type of fines can landlords face if they are not following the laws?
Please visit Service Alberta web page and the Safety Codes Council web page.
Also, the Safety Codes Act lays out Penalties for Offences (Prohibitions – Offences 67(1)).
6. What can tenants do if they worry their rental home isn’t fire safe?
They can contact the local AHJ and the Landlord and Tenants Council for their areas. Please see Service Alberta website.
7. What happens if a tenant disables a smoke detector? Can they be fined?
It depends on the circumstances around this. Fines may or may not be done; depends on the AHJ and the circumstances around the event(s).
8. Are there any great resources you recommend for residential landlords to learn more about their responsibilities when it comes to fire safety?
Having a good working relationship with the local AHJ and reviewing the web pages that have been provided to you. Also contacting their local Landlord and Tenants Council for clarity.
9. Are there any sites where tenants can learn about their rights and responsibilities when it comes to fire safety.
See above responses.
10. How can small private residential landlords go the extra mile to make their rental property ultra safe for their tenants.
Engaging with the local AHJ’s and also with the tenants on what is required and what is expected.
There are a lot of resources available for both tenants and landlords and we encourage both parties to review and engage in those resources.
Alberta landlords make fire safety a priority in 2015! If you have questions contact your local Fire Department and the provincial Fire Services Department who will be happy to assist you improve your rental property!