Being in your apartment should give you a sense of safety and comfort. And if something breaks or goes wrong, you should know who is responsible for addressing the issue. Many people rent apartments because the burden of replacing broken appliances or making repairs falls on a landlord, not the renters.
However, this is not always the case. For example, you should know whether you or your landlord are responsible for addressing various fire hazards.
Common types of fire hazards
In any home, there are several potential hazards that could start or fail to prevent a fire. Some that are especially common can include:
- Faulty wiring
- Broken appliances, including stoves, toasters and heaters
- Broken or missing smoke detectors
- Overloaded outlets
- Flammable substances leaking into an apartment
- Cooking fires
- Open flames, like candles
- Poorly maintained dryers
You can find these hazards in apartments of all types, sizes and ages.
Who is responsible for preventing fires?
Liability for fire hazards in your apartment varies based on a couple of main factors.
One factor is whether you are the person who brought a potential hazard in yourself. For instance, you could be liable for damage caused by candles you lit, appliances you brought in or flammable materials you kept by your stove. Barring evidence of a defective product, tenants are likely responsible for damages caused by these unsafe conditions.
On the other hand, a landlord may be liable for things they put in your home, from the heating and cooling elements to the appliances and sprinkler systems.
Another factor in determining responsibility is your lease. Your lease should specify which party – the landlord or the tenant – can and should make repairs. In some leases, landlords want to have full control over a unit, so they accept all responsibilities for maintenance and repairs. In other cases, tenants can perform these tasks.
Protecting yourself and your family
Properly addressing fire hazards in your apartment is crucial in protecting yourself and the people you love. Whether this means preventing them from occurring in the first place or holding a negligent party responsible for damages caused by a fire, taking action sooner rather than later can be vital.