Are Landlords Required To Provide Fire Extinguishers? | Fire Safety Regulations For Residential Properties:

  • By: Peter Parker
  • Time to read: 5 min.
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Fire is a deadly threat. Fire accidents can damage the property and can cause serious injuries or death to the inhabitants.

It takes seconds for a small flame to set off a blaze and bring down your apartment and injure the people inside.

Cooking, heating equipment, and electrical faults are three of the major contributors to fire accidents. Many of these fires can be prevented with proper maintenance and due diligence. 

Both landlords and tenants have to practice proper diligence to safeguard themselves and the property from fire accidents. 

Who is responsible for fire safety, landlord or tenant?

Fire safety regulations vary from state to state. Usually, it is the responsibility of the landlord to comply with the fire safety codes of the city/state. 

Landlords have the responsibility to provide a safe and habitable living space for the renters, and fire safety is one of the important prerequisites to ensure the safety of the house. 

What are the fire safety regulations for landlords?

Landlords of apartments, multi-family homes, condos, and all types of rental properties must follow the fire safety regulations of the state/ city. The fire safety regulations for landlords include

  • Installing early warning systems such as smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, etc. 
  • Overseeing regular maintenance of the early warning systems including changing batteries, routine inspections, and timely replacements. 
  • Placing fire extinguishers and sprinklers to control fire.
  • Doing timely repairs to structural elements.
  • Meeting requests for repairs and maintenance.
  • Conducting regular fire safety checks.
  • Ensuring that all the entries, exits, and fire escape routes are free of debris and functional.
  • Devising an evaluation strategy for swift action during fire accidents.
  • Creating a fire prevention strategy and educating the tenants. 

Is it a legal requirement to have a fire extinguisher in a rented property

The legal requirements for fire safety differ from state to state.

In some states, all the houses and apartments must have fire extinguishers along with other fire safety equipment, while others only require smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms. 

All the equipment must be kept in good condition and the tenants must be trained on how to use them. 

It is compulsory for all commercial buildings to have fire extinguishers for different types of fires. 

For example, a building with a greater risk of kitchen fires must possess a fire extinguisher for class K cooking fires, while a building exposed to electrical hazards must have an extinguisher suited to control electric fires. 

The fire extinguishers must be regularly inspected and should be in working condition. 

Fire extinguishers play a critical role in controlling fire before it becomes a blaze. There are different types of fire extinguishers to deal with different types of fires. 

It is crucial to purchase the right type of fire extinguisher according to the need.

Before we discuss different types of extinguishers, it is significant to know about different types or classes of fire. 

Classes of fire

There are five types or classes of fire. Here is a brief overview of different classes of fire.

  • Class A – Fires caused by combustible solid materials such as paper, wood, cardboard, fabric, etc.
  • Class B – Fires caused by combustible liquids such as petrol, turpentine, oils, oil-based paints, etc.
  • Class C – Electrical fires caused by electrical equipment such as fuse boxes, circuit breakers, machinery, heating or cooling equipment, etc. 
  • Class D – Fires caused by combustible metals such as magnesium, titanium, aluminum, etc.
  • Class K – Fires caused by cooking oils and fats while grilling, frying, etc. 

Types of fire extinguishers

There are five main categories of fire extinguishers based on the types of fire they can be used for. 

  1. Foam extinguishers – Foam extinguishers are suitable for class A and class B fires. Since the foam extinguishers are water-based, they should not be used for fires caused by combustible metals, kitchen fires, and electrical fires. 
  1. Water extinguishers – Water extinguishers are suitable for Class A fires. It should not be used for fires caused by flammable liquids, gasses, and electrical fires. 
  1. Dry powder extinguisher – These extinguishers are also known as ABC extinguishers as they are suitable to deal with class A, class B, and class C fires. Dry powder extinguishers should not be used in closed spaces as the powder can be easily inhaled and can have serious effects. They can also be used to fight electrical fires caused by equipment up to 1000 V. Special dry powder extinguishers are available for class D fires caused by flammable metals.
  1. Wet chemical extinguishers – Wet chemical extinguishers are for class K fires caused while cooking, grilling, or frying. They can also be used in case of class A fires. 
  1. Carbon dioxide extinguishers – Carbon dioxide or CO2 extinguishers are suitable for Class C – electrical fires. They can also be used to control fires caused by combustible liquids such as oil, petroleum, etc. These extinguishers are most commonly found in places such as server rooms, electrical equipment rooms, etc. 

How common are apartment fires? Should my apartment have a fire extinguisher?

Statistics from the National Fire Protection Association state that over 100,000 apartment fires occur in the US every year. 

The leading causes of apartment fires are cooking equipment, faulty electrical wiring, heating equipment, unattended candles, and arson. 

Apartment owners and tenants must take proper precautions to avoid fire accidents that cause loss of life and property. 

Apartments should ideally have ABC fire extinguishers in every unit. These extinguishers must be regularly inspected and must be kept in working condition. 

Fire accidents occur every day and cause serious damage to lives and properties. It is the duty of both the landlords and tenants to take all the precautions to avoid fire accidents. 

The landlord has the responsibility to provide a safe and habitable property for the tenant and is obliged to follow the fire safety regulations.

The tenants must also follow the fire safety rules laid down by the landlord to safeguard themselves from fire accidents. 

Related Questions:

Do landlords have to provide fire extinguishers in the UK?

Landlords of HMO must provide fire extinguishers in the common areas of the property. However, there is no regulation for landlords of private single-house properties. 

However, it is recommended that the landlord must provide at least one multi-purpose ABC fire extinguisher to protect the tenants as well as the property from fire. 

What are the fire safety regulations for landlords in Canada? 

Every landlord in Canada must follow fire safety regulations 

  • Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in specific areas of the property.
  • Test the smoke and carbon monoxide filters regularly, change batteries and ensure they are functioning properly.
  • Provide fire safety information to the tenants.
  • Have at least two emergency exits in the rental property and make sure they are free from blockages. 
  • Fast response to the issues related to fire safety in the rental property.