This winter we’ve seen very visible reminders what can happen if rental housing is not well maintained with fire safety equipment or if residents are not informed as to their duties in maintaining the safety in their rental in cases of fire. It certainly has been top of mind at Columbia Property Management (CPM) and we work hard to stay on top of housing regulations and code. Based on this knowledge, we ensure that our clients’ rentals are properly maintained and the risks to residents living in our rentals are minimized.

In the last several years the regulatory agency in the District of Columbia (DCRA) updated the housing codes for fire safety to minimize injury and even deaths that can come from fire, smoke or carbon monoxide emergencies. Still, when touring properties of some prospective clients, some have not upgraded their rentals.

A rental in the District of Columbia requires:

  • Electrical smoke detectors on each level in all rentals (connected to the electrical system).
  • In rentals with natural gas appliances, fire places, or attached garages; carbon monoxide detectors are also required.
  • A smoke detector is required in every sleeping area (battery operated is okay).
  • An egress in each sleeping area (no windows with fixed security bars unless another means of egress without encumbrances is present.
  • A wall-mounted ABC fire extinguisher is required in or near each kitchen in single family dwellings or in the hallway in apartment or association buildings.
  • Gas burning furnaces, boilers and hot water heaters must have adequate ventilation.
  • Mechanical closets must be clear of clutter around the furnace or hazardous materials such as paint cans.
  • Portable radiators or space heaters should always be plugged directly into a wall socket and not into an extension cord.

With this in mind, CPM is prioritizing our routine property condition surveys with the goal to have all units we manage checked by the end of March 2022. The visits will verify that these crucial fire safety features are present and working. We’ll be looking closely at problem areas that could cause injuries as well such as tripping hazards, electrical safety and proper housekeeping.

Rely on CPM to help ensure the safety of the rental property you own or the rental in which you live. We’re here to help.

Scott Bloom, Owner and Senior Property Manager
Columbia Property Management

Scott Bloom founded Columbia Property Management (CPM) in 2012. And today, he is both the owner and senior property manager. CPM’s goal is to provide a powerful, personal level of service to our clients. We focus on smaller landlords, professionally managing their assets, so they can succeed by investing in rental real estate. Scott is an active member in multiple professional organizations including the National Association of Residential Property Managers.