Landlords and property owners have a duty of care to their tenants. Whether you are the owner of an apartment, house, or another residential facility when it comes to fire safety, fire extinguishers are the best protection to ensure residents are protected and damage is minimal throughout the property. Are landlords required to provide fire extinguishers in Texas, and is it essential?
The Rules on Landlords and Fire Extinguishers
Under the State of Texas Fire Safety codes and regulations, it states that all condominium associations, commercial buildings, houses, and any assisted residential communities should provide “a sufficient number of fire extinguishers” throughout the property that must be certified and maintained by a licensed technician.
The landlord is responsible for fire extinguishers and must follow the Texas property code PROP § 92.264. Duty to Repair or Replace, which states if the fire extinguisher is not functioning, doesn’t have the correct pressure, or the tenant has notified the landlord they used the fire extinguisher, the landlord must repair or replace the fire extinguisher at their expense. However, if the tenant or a guest misuses or damages the fire extinguisher, the tenant is liable for the cost, with the landlord replacing the fire extinguisher within a reasonable timeframe.
Do Landlords Need to Conduct Fire Extinguisher Inspections?
The Texas Administrative Code states that a licensed provider (both a company and a service technician with an active Fire Extinguisher License) must perform required annual preventative maintenance and inspections on each fire extinguisher on an annual basis at least and conduct any appropriate testing or services. It is essential to keep fire extinguishers up to code. As part of their due diligence, a landlord would benefit from monthly inspections, where they can check for any signs of damage, ensuring the extinguishers appear in good working condition.
What Happens if Inspections and Annual Preventative Maintenances Are Ignored?
If you miss the annual PM on your fire extinguisher, then it’s critical to make changes to your priorities and arrange an annual required preventative maintenance and inspection immediately. You can schedule inspections at a time that suits you. If it does not pass inspection, it should be repaired or replaced within a reasonable timeframe. If you skip the inspection, this may put you in violation of the Fire Code, which could result in fines.
As a landlord, providing fire extinguishers and ensuring you conduct the appropriate work to ensure it functions safely is essential. The fact is that a fire extinguisher is the most important first line of defense for any individual facing a fire, and this cannot go ignored. Part of tenant responsibility is proper care of the fire extinguishers.
Responsible, law-abiding landlords prioritize safety and include fire extinguishers on their annual preventative maintenance plan.