Canadian Landlord Fined $6,000

by Chris on August 16, 2010

A landlord in Edmonton will have to pay fines – $6,000 worth, for failure to comply with the Alberta Fire Code.

The rental property in question consists of seven residential suites located above a commercial unit. 

“Our fire prevention officers found a number of serious problems with this property that put the lives of residents at risk,” said Ron Jeske, fire marshal. “While these sorts of violations are not common, it is an important reminder to landlords to make sure their properties comply with the fire code.”

Fire Prevention officers discovered the fire code violations during an inspection of the premises in the spring.

The landlord was fined $2,000 for each of these violations:

Windows in three of the suites failed to meet requirements for an emergency exit.

There were no smoke alarms in the suites or in common hallways.

The residence had only one emergency exit.

These fines did not concern the commercial spaces on the first floor of the property.

The landlord admitted guilt before the fines were imposed.

Last November, a Calgary landlord was fined more than $89,000 and sentenced to serve six months in jail after a fire broke out in his basement rental property, killing three people.  In that case, the windows were found inadequate to provide tenants a means of escape, and the smoke alarm was not properly installed, both violations of the Alberta Fire Code. 

Earlier, two Alberta tenants died in a house fire in an illegal apartment conversion with faulty wiring.  That landlord was fined over $90,000.

According to Edmonton Fire Rescue Services, in the event of a fire, emergency exits can mean the difference between life and death and a working smoke alarm can improve the chances of escaping a fire unharmed by 70 per cent.

Edmonton Fire Rescue Services works to prevent fires through fire code inspections and public education.
This post is provided by Tenant Verification Services, Inc., helping landlords reduce the risks of renting with fraud prevention tools that include Tenant Screening, Tenant Background Checks, (U.S. and Canada), as well as Criminal Background Checks, and Eviction Reports (U.S. only).

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Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Diane Guertin January 24, 2013 at 11:03 am

I am renting a townhouse in Canemore, and the owner has a tenant in the basement suite. When I had my cable installed in September when I moved in the technician informed me basement apartment has no separate cable hook up for that apartment.
The landlord asked me to pay for cable and give the guy downstairs a cable box and he would collect cable fees of the tenant in the basement and give it me. My lease does not say I have to pay for the basement apartment cable. Got me thinking.
There is a door to the basement that the landlord told me to keep locked as this is the door that is shared with the basement apartment. The tenant in the basement apartment uses shared side entrance to the basement. We could technically access each others rental unit thru this door (this is not a fire rated door, just a indoor door). I know now that this basement suite is illegal, that there cannot be any retrofit certificates as this would mean the owner would have to get permits. When I mentioned this to my landlord, he went nuts. Started to theaten me and such. As a tenant, can I call 311 and have a Fire Safety Code inspection. I pay my rent on time since taking the appartment in September, 2012 and I have the right to be safe.
Please advise,
Neil Guertin

Chris February 13, 2013 at 10:27 am

Hi Neil,
Thanks for your question. Unfortunately, we can’t offer specific legal advice for you, but as a landlord advocate I would strongly suggest that you ask your landlord to sit down with you (and other tenants) and express your concerns. Make your case to him, and see if you can’t resolve these issues together without the need for legal intervention. Once a landlord-tenant relationship turns sour, it’s stressful for everyone. More open communication may avoid further escalation, and may be the best — and only way — for each of you to get what you want. Sorry to hear you are having these problems. Chris/TVS

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