Deadline to Install Carbon Monoxide Alarms for Condos – October 15, 2015

The deadline for medium to large condominiums to bring their buildings into compliance with the requirement for carbon monoxide alarms is fast approaching: October 15, 2015.

The Ontario Fire Code was amended in October 2014 to require installation of carbon monoxide alarms. There was a 12-month phase-in period, designed to give building owners, property managers, and landlords of large residential properties time to plan for and install the alarms. The alarms are now mandatory in all Ontario homes with fuel-burning appliances (wood, gas, propane, oil) or attached garages or carports.

Condominiums that contain more than six residential occupancy suites have until the October 15th deadline to place alarms in every unit that has a fuel-burning appliance. Otherwise, the alarms must be placed by the service room (containing furnaces, water heaters, boilers, etc.).

Responsibility for installation and maintenance of the carbon monoxide alarms will, in most cases, fall to the condominium unit owner, even where the owner rents their unit to a tenant. However, like fire/smoke alarms, condominium corporations may have certain obligations to ensure compliance, and there may be circumstances where the condominium corporation takes responsibility for the installation on behalf of, or in conjunction with, the owners.

Condominiums found not to be protected by a carbon monoxide alarm after the compliance period expires on October 15, 2015 will be at risk of fines for contravention of the Ontario Fire Code.

Even those homes without fuel-burning devices may consider installing carbon monoxide alarms adjacent to sleeping areas. Doing so will protect against hidden or neighbouring sources of leaks. Carbon monoxide is colourless, odourless, and tasteless. Without a proper alarm, a leak can go undetected.

If you or your condominium corporation have questions about the carbon monoxide alarm requirements, you are welcome to contact our Condominium Law group to discuss.

More information on proper installation of carbon monoxide alarms can be found on the Government of Ontario’s website.