Does Your Income Property Meet the Fire Code?
Today when a buyer wants to invest in income property, he will typically want an inspection and a report to determine whether the property complies with the retrofit requirements of the Fire Code.
What is the Fire Code?
This is a regulation under the Fire Protection and Prevention Act that is tied to the Ontario Building Code.
Are Duplexes Affected by the Regulations?
All multi-residential units fall within Fire Code regulations, and this includes properties with as little as two rental units. Compliance is a legal requirement, making the owner primarily responsible for the cost of maintaining the property in a fire safe condition and to conform to the Code’s provisions.
Therefore, the owner of the property needs to be made aware of the regulation, as a buyer will most likely address the issue in the offer to purchase as part of the buyer’s due diligence in the form of a condition to buy. Why?
- A tenant can cause an inspection of the property to insure that it meets the Fire Code requirements.
- Some municipalities have and others may be considering initiating mandatory inspections of multi-residential units.
- If the buyer sells the property in the future, he will likely be faced with having to comply before a new buyer will purchase.
As a result, the buyer, as the new owner, will have to bear the cost of complying.
What Does the Fire Code Require?
Among other matters, The Fire Code concerns itself with:
- Operational smoke alarms in all units,
- Fire-rated floors, walls and ceilings between units,
- Fire-rated separation in exit stairways or self-closing doors on all units,
- Exit signs and emergency lighting,
- Removal of fire hazards,
- The safety of the electrical system,
- A building permit may be needed for certain corrections.
If a buyer chooses to buy a multi-residential property without an inspection by the municipality’s fire prevention officer, he again buys at his own risk and will bear any cost associated with violations to the act. As well, once a condition to buy in an Agreement of Purchase and Sale triggers an inspection, a seller will be responsible to correct violations.