Landlords should rat out tenants over safety issues

by Jennifer Paterson21 Apr 2015
Spring is the traditional season for landlords to visit their tenants to ensure everything is in working order, but with a recent case highlighting the need to regularly check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, one expert says it’s okay to rat out your tenants.

“We’ve called the fire department and ratted out our own tenants so that they understand the severity of this,” said Nick Vescio, an Ontario-based investor. The fire department comes in, reads them the riot act and threatens to issue a ticket.”

This may sound extreme, but Vescio only takes this path after he has noticed a tenant has left the smoke/carbon monoxide detector disconnect three times.

Victoria Martindale, a landlord in the UK, recently plead guilty to seven charges that she failed to maintain a gas boiler and other appliances at her property where one of her tenants died of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Omer Quenneville, a broker at Real Estate Homeward in Toronto, encourages all of the landlords he works with to do their best to provide the safest situations for their tenants.

"I always advise my landlords to do their best to keep a property up to code and in good shape," he said. "It's important to understand that being a landlord isn't just about providing a service or a product; it's about shelter and safety and comforts that should go with that."

“As a landlord I know it’s my responsibility to ensure the property meets all safety codes and is in decent living condition,” added Tim Mangat, an investor and agent at CIR Realtor in Calgary.

Vescio, for instance, has all tenants sign an acknowledgement when they move in to say the smoke detectors/carbon monoxide detectors are in working order and that they will stay in working order.

“Having said that, every time I go in to collect the rent, if they’re not connected, we take a picture, we document it and we write it up so there’s a paper trail," he added.

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