Fire Safety: What Are Landlords and Tenants Responsible For?

An apartment fire can quickly burn through all of your belongings, leaving you without a home and possessions. Nobody wants to be put in this situation, but whose responsibility is it to take precautions against it? Read on below to learn what landlords and tenants are responsible for when it comes to fire safety.

Smoke detectors and fire extinguishers

The first lines of defense when it comes to fire safety are smoke detectors and a fire extinguisher. Providing these items in good working condition is always the landlord’s responsibility. For any apartment, whether in a large apartment complex or a smaller building, the landlord is legally obligated to provide working smoke detectors.

Additionally, in large apartment complexes, the owner is required to provide fire extinguishers in either the common areas of the complex or in tenants’ apartment units.

Structural fire hazards

Any fire hazards that make the building unsafe to occupy are the landlord’s responsibility to fix and can cause serious legal problems for them if they refuse to. Such hazards could include faulty and exposed wiring, as well as appliances being plugged in unsafely.

If you have any structural fire hazards in your building, let the landlord know immediately and take action to make sure things get repaired properly. The landlord may own the building, but at the end of the day, it’s your belongings and life that are in jeopardy if there’s a fire.

General tenant fire safety

As a tenant, it’s your responsibility to take general fire safety precautions and to keep from doing things that could be potentially hazardous. Smoking indoors, overloading appliances, and using space heaters are all very common causes of household fires.

Smoke outside if you choose to do so, and especially never smoke in bed or when you’re tired. Be sure to clean the filter on your dryer after every use and never load your washer or dryer past the recommended capacity. Finally, avoid using space heaters if possible, and if you choose to use one, be sure to keep it far away from anything paper or cloth. These simple steps can help you keep you and your apartment safe.

Rules in your lease

In some cases, your lease may require you to take additional fire safety steps. These steps could include rules against smoking indoors and lighting candles, and if you are found to be violating these rules, you can be held legally responsible. Be sure to follow all the rules set out in your lease to protect both your apartment and your money.

Area-specific rules

Certain regulations when it comes to fire safety may vary by state or county. For example, some regional laws allow the landlord to enter the premises of your apartment at any time if they have reason to believe that there’s a serious fire hazard that poses a risk to the building or the other tenants. You can find more information on these rules by visiting your state website or asking your local fire marshal.

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