No one ever blames the dead people. When there’s a fire, and people die, they always look for someone to blame. Don’t let this be you! As a landlord it is your responsibility to make sure the smoke alarms are all working. Don’t kid yourself, this can and does happen to landlords. You have to be the one who is pro-active and on the ball because, if the worst should happen, not only will you have your picture in the paper as the jerk slumlord who neglected his property and caused the death of a tenant or family, you will also be subject to fines and possibly some jail too! So read this then get to work updating and changing what needs to be done.
Change all smoke alarms after 10 years
After 10 years a smoke alarm is tired and lazy. Go buy a huge box of young (raring to go) smoke alarms and go around to all your properties and change them all at once if your properties are over 10 years old.
Smoke Alarms Can Be Moved
You’re supposed to have a smoke alarm outside each sleeping area and on every floor of the house. If you go to a house or apartment and the battery is out or a hard wired alarm is disabled, it’s in the wrong spot. I had just such an alarm in my house, it was hard wired and every tenant would disable it. It turned out that every single time they took a shower, the alarm would go off! Can I really blame them? So when you find a situation like this in your house, don’t scold your tenant, sure they’re stupid, but it’s a lot easier (and more effective) to move the smoke alarm than to change people. You as a landlord have to be smarter than your tenant, here’s a guide to moving the smoke alarm to stop nuisance alarms.
Change the Battery
Every six months change the battery. A wise landlord would try to buy smoke alarms that use the same battery, so that you always have some on hand and so you don’t have to try to remember what house has which smoke alarm etc. Changing the battery shouldn’t be an IQ test; it should be simple and easy.
While you are there inspect the property. Write down what you did and what the condition of the property is in. Believe me if more landlords “changed the smoke alarm” there would be a lot less marijuana grow ops too! Here’s a link to a Chatham-Kent website where you can download a smoke alarm checklist to fill out once you check the smoke alarms. It also lists landlord responsibilities and tenant responsibilities.
After a Fire… It has been found that 50% of smoke alarms don’t work!
Because of all the reasons above. Disabled or battery dead or too old.
Go Crazy and Change The Smoke Alarm in Your Own House
Don’t forget to check and change your own smoke alarms and fire safety plans.
You have a lazy landlord, who doesn’t take of his place and the smoke alarm has no battery or is over 10 years old or is in the wrong spot or whatever. Not every landlord is wonderful enough to read my blog!
This is important!
Don’t burn to death in your sleep because your landlord’s an ass. The store will sell you a smoke alarm. They will also sell you batteries. Those things will cost under 10$ and might save your hide. The bottom line is that once you or your family is dead or burned, it won’t be much of a comfort that it was your landlord’s job. So be smart and do it yourself if your landlord hasn’t or won’t do it. Do it today!
Consequences for Landlords
If you don’t maintain the smoke alarms in your rental properties…there is a whole world of hurt waiting for you. Fines and even jail time are available. Great you saved a whole $10 per suite, there’s a fire in one of your houses/apartments and now you get to be on the front page of the newspaper, get a $50,000 fine and possible some jail time. You’re a real genius!