When is a Landlord Responsible for Fire Injuries?

Rental property fires can cause significant damages, injuries, and even loss of life. Numerous factors can cause fires, like electrical faults, gas leaks, negligence, and arson. Brooklyn tenants must know their rights and the landlord’s responsibilities regarding fires and their aftermath. When is a landlord responsible for fire injuries? Are there appropriate fire safety measures in your NYC rental building? What can you do to be safer in your home?

Are There Fire Hazards in Your Rental Property?

A fire hazard is anything in your rental space that increases the likelihood of a fire outbreak or that would exacerbate an existing fire. Examples include electrical hazards, gas leaks, improperly stored flammable materials, faulty heating equipment, unsafe appliances, broken or defective smoke detectors, and inadequate fire exits or sprinklers.

It’s essential to regularly check and maintain appliances and electrical connections, use caution when smoking and using candles, and have working smoke detectors throughout your rental home.

Duties of NYC Landlords to Protect Tenants From Fire

According to the NYC Fire Code, New York landlords must provide functional smoke detectors on every apartment level. The law also mandates that rental apartments have at least one working smoke detector where the occupant can hear the alarm inside all sleeping rooms. Additionally, the landlord must make sure that every occupant has access to appropriate exits at all times and has access to sufficient ventilation.

Moreover, the fire escape must be equipped with lighting if the primary entrance and exit door lead to the fire escape. The landlord is responsible for ensuring that the premises’ electrical and heating systems meet all safety requirements and are regularly checked and serviced for necessary repairs. Responsible landlords should also provide comprehensive fire safety training for all tenants.

When are Landlords Liable for Fire Injuries?

Landlords are responsible for their tenants’ safety and welfare. If a tenant becomes injured in a fire due to the landlord’s negligence, the landlord and/or building owner can be held liable. Possible circumstances can include:

  • Faulty electrical appliances
  • Poor building wiring
  • Improper or blocked fire exits
  • Faulty smoke detectors or fire alarms
  • Faulty sprinkler systems
  • Blocked stairwells
  • Improperly stored flammable materials (old paint, building materials, etc.)
  • Other safety hazards

Common legal claims involving landlords and fires generally involve negligence. The tenant can sue for damages if a landlord fails to meet their due diligence toward fire safety. In most cases, the plaintiff must prove that the landlord was aware of a safety hazard or should have been knowledgeable and didn’t take appropriate action to rectify the issue. When a landlord is found guilty of negligence, they can be held responsible for your injuries and losses, including medical bills, lost time from work, and other financial losses.

Tips to Protect Yourself From Fires in a Brooklyn Rental Property

Tenants can actively prevent fire hazards and stay safe in their rental space. These measures include the following:

  • Properly storing flammable items
  • Avoiding overloading electricity sockets
  • Regularly testing smoke detectors
  • Avoiding smoking indoors
  • Not leaving cooking appliances unattended
  • Keeping fire extinguishers near cooking areas
  • Avoiding the use of grills on patios

Contacting a qualified attorney is crucial if you have been injured in a fire due to a landlord’s negligence. Bonina & Bonina has experience handling Premises Liability cases where landlords are negligent and their actions or omissions cause tenant injuries. You may be able to receive compensation through a Premises Liability lawsuit in New York. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with our experienced team.