I am sure many of you have heard about the law requiring carbon monoxide detectors in most homes in Ontario. Here are a few key points about the law as it relates to condominiums:
- Buildings with 6 or fewer residential suites must comply with the installation and replacement requirements before April 15, 2015;
- Buildings with more than 6 residential suites must comply with the installation and replacement requirements before October 15, 2015;
- The maintenance and testing requirements for existing alarms are already in force (since October 15, 2014);
- Tenants are required to notify their landlords if the alarm is disconnected, or not operating properly. They are also prohibited from disabling the alarms;
- A record of the testing must be maintained, much like smoke and fire alarm testing, for examination by the fire inspectors; and,
- The current punishments for violating the Fire Code are $50,000.00 and/or imprisonment for individuals and $100,000.00 for corporations.
Who is responsible for installing and maintaining carbon monoxide detectors in condominiums? According to the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, the owner (see here). This makes sense given the definition of “owner” in the Fire Code. However, given the decision in R. v. York Condominium Corporation No. 60 (where both the condominium and the unit owner were convicted of failing to provide a fire alarm within the unit), it may be wise for condominiums to conduct regular inspections and/or assume all installation, maintenance, and replacement obligations. While this may be costly, it is likely that a condominium could be convicted of failing to provide a carbon monoxide detector within a unit as the language used to describe the obligations for carbon monoxide detectors is very similar to the language used for fire alarms.