Apartment buildings and other multi-family homes in New York could be at a higher risk for fires because of the increased number of people who live in the building. Even the decisions a landlord makes could affect whether a building remains fire free. The National Fire Protection Association states there were 95,000 apartment structure fires across the country in a single year. These fires resulted in 405 deaths and 3,025 injuries. Landlords need to take preventative actions to ensure their tenants and buildings remain safe.


Install safety devices

One of the first things a building manager should do is make sure each unit has the appropriate fire-safety devices. Fire alarms, for example, can alert sleeping renters that there is a fire in the building. This early warning could help prevent injuries and deaths. Smoke detectors and fire extinguishers can also help residents remain safe in their apartments. A fire ladder or another type of emergency escape plan can give tenants a quick way to exit upper-level rooms in the event of a fire.


Create safety guidelines

While safety devices may help keep residents safe when a fire breaks out, there are certain rules landlords may want to set up to decrease the chances of a fire breaking out. For example, prohibiting smoking within the building can help prevent fires, as can the following:


  • Regulating the use of grills on balconies.
  • Requiring renters to have fireplaces cleaned regularly.
  • Creating an easy way for tenants to report electrical issues.
  • Asking tenants to plug major appliances directly into an outlet.
  • Suggesting Christmas trees and other decorations be kept away from exits and heating sources.


Building owners may also want to require their renters to have renter’s insurance. This insurance does not help prevent fires, but it can help remove liability for any damage that may be done to personal property.


Hold regular inspections

Apartment building supervisors can team up with a local fire department to hold regular inspections of the rental units. These inspections can provide an opportunity to make sure dryers are properly hooked up, check for faulty wiring, test smoke detectors and fire alarms, and check on venting systems and heaters. Landlords can also make sure that all of their tenants are following the established safety guidelines. Another bonus of this regular inspection is that building owners can make sure all of their properties remain up to code.


No matter what type of preventative steps are taken, there is still a chance that New York apartment buildings can have a fire. If residents are injured and suspect landlord negligence played a role in the fire, it might be beneficial to talk with knowledgeable attorneys from Smiley & Smiley, LLP by calling 212-986-2022.