We Want Every Private Residential Landlord in BC To Make Sure Your Rental Property is “Fire Safe” to Protect Your Tenants!
BC landlords know the importance of renting out nice rental units. After all, if you were a tenant you would want to rent a nice and clean property. There are lots of great tenants out there and they are seeking professional landlords who make sure their rental property looks to be in top notch condition.
Experienced BC landlords know that beauty is only step one when you rent out your property. You also need to make sure your rental property is safe and you know the rules for safety!
These landlords know how to avoid the ‘bad tenants’ out there as you can see from Landlords in BC – Top 5 Tenant Screening Mistakes, and know good landlords who find good tenants take the time to educate ourselves on the laws of the province and provide safe housing to tenants.
Fire safety is a huge issue. It’s vitally important small residential landlords make sure their rental property is safe and legal.
In order to help BC residential landlords we contacted the very helpful Stephen Watt. He’s the Codes and Standards Coordinator for the Office of the Fire Commissioner, Emergency Management B.C.
We truly appreciate the time Officer Watt spent to help us educate residential BC landlords.
1. What are the responsibilities of private residential landlords when it comes to fire safety?
The owner or owners authorized agent is required to carry out the provisions of the BCFC.
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?
The requirement is to maintain the existing life safety systems installed in the building in working condition as per the original approved (by local building official) design.
Smoke alarms are required (as per Bulletin Smoke Alarm Bulletin – 2012 07 16 (Revised 2013 12 13)
3. Are these rules the same in all of the province?
Yes, in all areas under provincial jurisdiction. The City of Vancouver has similar requirements.
4. What are the rules for landlords when it comes to smoke alarms?
See Smoke Alarm Bulletin – 2012 07 16 (Revised 2013 12 13)
5. What are the rules for landlords when it comes to carbon monoxide alarms?
If they are installed they are to be maintained in working condition as per manufacturer’s instructions.
6. Regarding enforcement of the laws, what type of fines can landlords face if they are not following the laws?
Offence by owner or occupier
45 (1) An owner or occupier of a building or premises who fails to comply with an order made under this Act commits an offence.
(2) A person who commits an offence under subsection (1) is liable on conviction to the penalties provided in the Offence Act.
(3) In the case of a continuing offence, a person who commits the offence is liable to a further penalty of not more than $50 for each day during which the offence continues.
7. What can tenants do if they worry their rental home isn’t fire safe?
The OFC can be called at 1-888-988-9488
The local fire department can also be called
8. What happens if a tenant disables a smoke alarm? Can they be fined?
No the tenant cannot be fined; however, a compliance Order can be written against the owner to install a working smoke alarm.
9. Are there any great resources you recommend for residential landlords to learn more about their responsibilities when it comes to fire safety?
The OFC Bulletins, the Fire Services Act, and the BCFC
• Public Education Bulletins – http://www.embc.gov.bc.ca/ofc/public-ed/index.htm
Houses used for Boarders, Lodgers and Roomers – 2005 12 20
Smoke Alarm Bulletin – 2012 07 16 (Revised 2013 12 13)
Consent to Enter a Private Dwelling – 2014 05 15
• Fire Safety Legislation
The Office of the Fire Commissioner administers the Fire Services Act and the BC Fire Code. Under this legislative authority, the Office appoints and trains local assistants to the fire commissioner (LAFC), implements fire safety regulations, processes technical code changes and resolves appeals.
Fire Services Act
2012 BC Building Code and 2012 BC Fire Code
10. How can small private residential landlords go the extra mile to make their rental property ultra safe for their tenants.
• Owners must maintain the existing life safety systems as per original approved building design.
• Provide additional battery operated smoke alarms in bedrooms , as smoke alarms in bedrooms are now required in all new dwellings unit built/constructed under the 2012 BC Building Code
• Provide tenants with OFC Bulletins and familiarization with the life safety system installed in the building, as part of fire safety planning.
BC Landlords make the extra effort to make sure your BC rental property is safe for your tenants.