Fore extinguishers can prevent a minor fire from becoming a deadly disaster. But as a landlord, are you required to place one in the apartment you're renting out? As is true of many questions, the answer is "it depends." Some municipalities require landlords to supply fire extinguishers, while others do not. You can find out the regulations in your area by calling your local building inspector's office. But even if fire extinguishers are not required in rental units, it's a great idea to invest in one for your tenants to use. Here's a closer look.
What are the advantages of providing a fire extinguisher?
If your rental unit burns down, your property insurance should cover it. However, it's a real hassle to make plans for rebuilding, and in most cases, you'll need to find your tenants a place to stay while the repairs are being made. When there's a fire extinguisher present for your tenants to use, chances are better than a small fire on the stove or after a candle is knocked over will just be put out before serious damage is done. Single-use fire extinguishers only cost about $15 - $20 -- it's a really good investment!
With a fire extinguisher present in the unit, your property insurance premiums may also go down. You're simply less of a risk to the insurance company, so they can afford to charge you less. After you place a fire extinguisher in the unit, make sure you contact the insurance company and let them know.
Of course, if you are required by law to provide a fire extinguisher in your municipality, doing so is important for legal reasons. If you fail to provide a fire extinguisher, not only may you be fined by your city or town, but you may also be named in a lawsuit if your tenant becomes injured in a fire that could have been contained had he or she had the legally-required fire extinguisher.
What are the guidelines to follow when supplying an extinguisher?
The best place for the fire extinguisher is in the kitchen. Your municipality's laws may even state that the extinguisher must be in the kitchen. Before a new tenant moves in, check the extinguisher to ensure it is fully charged -- and have it charged or replace it if needed. Show each tenant where the fire extinguisher is located, so they can use it if needed, and encourage them to keep it in its place in the kitchen.
Whether or not your municipality requires landlords to supply a fire extinguisher is really beside the point. Supplying one is the safest, wisest choice you can make for yourself and for your tenants.
For fire extinguishers, contact a company such as Universal Fire Equipment.