Make sure your rental income doesn't go up in smoke

(NC) One of the most important responsibilities of being a landlord is to make sure your rental unit is safe and meets all building codes. Fire safety and prevention are paramount and that goes for a rental unit inside your home.

To make sure my rental tenants' safety comes first, I follow the Ontario Fire Code regulations. Changes to provincial legislation enacted in July 1994 made apartments permissible in most detached houses, semi-detached houses and row houses, as long as minimum health and safety requirements are met.

Owners of houses containing two self-contained residential units (dwelling units) are required to bring their buildings into compliance with the new fire safety regulation adopted under the Ontario Fire Code. Tenants in these buildings are entitled to ask their landlords to make sure that the fire regulations are met.

The Code addresses five safety issues including:

  • Fire separation for each dwelling unit. This can be done with a specifically engineered product, such as Roxul ComfortBoard FS. It is a semi-rigid, stone wool insulation board and is ideal for fire-stopping in concealed spaces of multi-unit residential buildings.
  • Means of escape from each dwelling unit. Basement apartments must have a separate exit or have windows large enough for a human to escape to be consider a legal rental unit.
  • Smoke alarms are a must for any home, whether a rental unit or not and need to be installed, one on each level and close to bedrooms.
  • Electrical safety is of utmost importance. All electrical should be updated and brought up to code if creating a dwelling unit within a home.
  • Fire safety, especially in a rental unit, needs to be put on the top of priorities. Although a rental unit can be a profitable investment, it also comes with the responsibility of your tenant's safety. Always put their safety first and you'll have good tenants for a long time.

Scott McGillivray is a full-time real estate investor, contractor, television host, writer, and educator.

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