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thoughts? (by 6x6 [TN]) Apr 4, 2024 7:02 PM
       thoughts? (by NE [PA]) Apr 4, 2024 7:27 PM
       thoughts? (by Still Learning [NH]) Apr 4, 2024 7:34 PM
       thoughts? (by BillW [NJ]) Apr 4, 2024 8:30 PM
       thoughts? (by OREO [WI]) Apr 4, 2024 8:30 PM
       thoughts? (by DJ [VA]) Apr 4, 2024 8:45 PM
       thoughts? (by 6x6 [TN]) Apr 4, 2024 8:47 PM
       thoughts? (by Vee [OH]) Apr 4, 2024 9:07 PM
       thoughts? (by Ken [NY]) Apr 4, 2024 9:08 PM
       thoughts? (by NE [PA]) Apr 4, 2024 9:24 PM
       thoughts? (by Bonanza [NC]) Apr 4, 2024 9:32 PM
       thoughts? (by Allym [NJ]) Apr 4, 2024 9:48 PM
       thoughts? (by RB [TN]) Apr 4, 2024 9:52 PM
       thoughts? (by Busy [WI]) Apr 4, 2024 10:55 PM
       thoughts? (by Hoosier [IN]) Apr 4, 2024 11:30 PM
       thoughts? (by Vee [OH]) Apr 5, 2024 8:10 AM
       thoughts? (by Busy [WI]) Apr 5, 2024 8:50 AM
       thoughts? (by S i d [MO]) Apr 5, 2024 8:57 AM
       thoughts? (by NE [PA]) Apr 5, 2024 10:05 AM
       thoughts? (by WMH [NC]) Apr 5, 2024 10:13 AM
       thoughts? (by jonny [NY]) Apr 5, 2024 10:28 AM
       thoughts? (by 6x6 [TN]) Apr 5, 2024 11:01 AM
       thoughts? (by BillW [NJ]) Apr 5, 2024 11:15 AM
       thoughts? (by Tim [CA]) Apr 5, 2024 1:34 PM
       thoughts? (by NE [PA]) Apr 5, 2024 1:49 PM
       thoughts? (by 6x6 [TN]) Apr 5, 2024 4:33 PM
       thoughts? (by Small potatoes [NY]) Apr 5, 2024 9:33 PM
       thoughts? (by zero [IN]) Apr 6, 2024 9:47 AM
       thoughts? (by Robin [WI]) Apr 6, 2024 10:45 AM
       thoughts? (by 6x6 [TN]) Apr 7, 2024 10:17 PM
       thoughts? (by Ray-N-Pa [PA]) Apr 9, 2024 7:04 AM
       thoughts? (by 6x6 [TN]) Apr 12, 2024 6:50 PM

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thoughts? (by 6x6 [TN]) Posted on: Apr 4, 2024 7:02 PM

I thought I might share an example of how I communicate with my tenants at times.

I would like your feedback (I think) to see if I need to make any adjustments. I feel as though my style works fairly well in showing my tenants respect (when they deserve it) and I usually receive the same in return. However, I know there is always room for improvement.

Thank you for your time.


I went to the rental today and did a quarterly maintenance check. While doing the maintenance check I noticed that the fire extinguisher was not in its holder on the wall anymore. I didn't even see it anywhere. I didn't see any evidence where it had been used nor did I see any damage. I didn't let it upset me at all. I thought through the possibilities of things that might have happened. I looked around a little but never saw it. Still, I was not upset. For one, I was needing to replace it anyway because it was time. I went down to the local Walmart and bought a new one. I went back to the rental and installed it and filled out the inspection tag. I took a picture of it and then my phone died. I got back to the office and put my phone on charge. I texted the tenant:

"Hello, hope you are having a good day. When doing the maintenance check I noticed the fire extinguisher was missing. I put in a new fire extinguisher as it is required for the rental. Curious as to what happened to the other fire extinguisher? Did you need to use it for something? Thank you for the time to do the maintenance check."

She texted back:

"Thank you but no we didn't use the fire extinguisher. I just put it under the sink."

I texted back:

"Okay, I didn't see it. Glad you didn't need to use it. If you wouldn't mind just throw the old one away. Have a good evening."

She then texted me the like symbol. I haven't figured out yet how they do that. So many things to learn in this tech world.

BTW, I talked to the cat while I was there. I don't pet it much though as I am allergic.


thoughts? (by NE [PA]) Posted on: Apr 4, 2024 7:27 PM

Ugh, the thought of a quarterly inspection. How much have you looked into the law regarding the fire extinguisher in the unit? I would be worried about liability if a tenant was to use a fire extinguisher that I provided and then it failed or they got burned by the fire or something else. Is there anyway you can put the supply of the fire extinguisher on the tenant and sign off on it at lease signing?

thoughts? (by Still Learning [NH]) Posted on: Apr 4, 2024 7:34 PM

NE, my insurance company requires fire extinguishers in the units but the fire department would prefer tenants just get out of the building.

thoughts? (by BillW [NJ]) Posted on: Apr 4, 2024 8:30 PM

I like your matter of fact tone, but you're not being nasty with them and it seems they responded the same way.

One thought is I don't think you're supposed to drop an old fire extinguisher in the garbage, and I'm thinking that's what some of my tenants would do, if I told them what you said.

thoughts? (by OREO [WI]) Posted on: Apr 4, 2024 8:30 PM

That sounds very nice of you...I too have noticed tenants putting the fire extinguishers under the sink. In a panic, I would forget where it is unless it is in plain sight. Hope she throws the old one out. --75.11.xx.xx

thoughts? (by DJ [VA]) Posted on: Apr 4, 2024 8:45 PM

It sounds to me like you communicate very well.

About the fire extinguisher: we need one permanently mounted to get a certificate of occupancy.

Last time I mounted it in the laundry room - convenient to both the stove & the dryer, but not too close to either. I was told it was supposed to be mounted under the sink. Even if the sink is only a couple feet from the stove.

Seems dumb to me to have to get close to the fire in order to get to the extinguisher!

thoughts? (by 6x6 [TN]) Posted on: Apr 4, 2024 8:47 PM

NE, honestly, I will need to look at the law on that. As Still Learning mentioned, I know that my insurance likes us to have them. You may well be right on the liability as well. I will check into it.

Still Learning, good point about the firemen wanting them to just exit the building.

BillW, I will have to check into the proper disposal of the fire extinguisher. I honestly didn't think about it.

OREO, I was thinking maybe they bent down to pick something up and when the raised up might have hit their heads on it. They put their trash cans under it.

thoughts? (by Vee [OH]) Posted on: Apr 4, 2024 9:07 PM

MOst insurance and fire inspectors want the firebottle near the door at waist level so you can feel it when you can not see it, under the sink will be a violation, read the instructions that come with the bottle.

thoughts? (by Ken [NY]) Posted on: Apr 4, 2024 9:08 PM

I agree with NE, I dont want a tenant trying to get a fire extinguisher then getting burned or dying in the fire, a good attorney could say it was the landlords fault for providing it.I consider that my responsibility to have a good insurance policy to pay me back for my loss. I do lots of cleanouts and often have fire extinguishers both empty and full that i get rid of,cant put it in a dumpster but i take a picture and put it on facebook and always seem to have someone come get them,even the empty ones that can be bought for $15 --74.77.xx.xx

thoughts? (by NE [PA]) Posted on: Apr 4, 2024 9:24 PM

Vee, if you’re feeling around at waste level for a fire extinguisher, because you can’t see it, probably a good idea to get out of the building at that point.

thoughts? (by Bonanza [NC]) Posted on: Apr 4, 2024 9:32 PM

I put fire extinguishers in every unit and do quarterly maintenance inspections.

In my mind, you are doing everything you can to create a safe environment.

If you don't want the potential mess of a fire extinguisher. Fire blankets are cheaper. I didn't know about them until my wife found them. Less than $10 a piece.

thoughts? (by Allym [NJ]) Posted on: Apr 4, 2024 9:48 PM

To pass town's yearly inspection I need wall mounted, tagged, abc fire extinguishers with recent checkup tag. One tenant's grand child did knock one off and she had to clean up a mess of yellow powder. I just bought fire blankets and will be handing them out. You did a great job handling the situation.

thoughts? (by RB [TN]) Posted on: Apr 4, 2024 9:52 PM

"I got back to the office and put my phone on charge".

You have an office ?

thoughts? (by Busy [WI]) Posted on: Apr 4, 2024 10:55 PM

I would have petted the cat; I'm only allergic to their poop.

Mine are mounted in kitchen just by the back door. Visible, and on the way outside. During orientation, I tell tenant I have three rules about using fire extinguisher:

1. Get everyone out of the house.

2. Get everyone out of the house.

3. Get.. (they are smiling by now) everyone out of the house

The extinguisher is only there if you are having trouble complying with rules 1, 2, or 3.

I do explain a bit further about calling for fire department and meeting place, but I want to stress that them getting out safely is ONLY priority. My house, their stuff, all can be replaced. Good tenants are hard to come by! (Said with a wink)

On an inspection, I too spotted the fire extinguisher missing, bracket was also gone ( I hadn't mounted it to a stud, but used a good mounting sleeve.) I was slightly concerned that tenant had removed it for decor reasons, so I picked up another one and mounted it on the other side of the wall, just inside the stairwell, still right by the back door.

I did text when I was done, don't remember wording as couple of years ago, but likely very much as yours: non-accusatory, factual and polite. Tenant responded in a similar matter. She had used it! The week previously had been a barbecue holiday, and she hosted a family get-together. After everyone left, the neighbor alerted her- garbage can was smoking! She grabbed extinguisher and unloaded it in the bin, full on! I praised her for quick thinking. She'd offered to pay for a new extinguisher, I declined. I said I'd never charge for an extinguisher that was used, wouldn't ever want anyone to hesitate to use it. Mine was about seven years old, so about time to replace anyway.

For those wondering, she thought a guest tossed a not -quite-extinguished ciggy in the bin. Tenant knew to wait for coal to cool in grill for two days before putting ash in the bin. That reminds me, I found some nice metal small trash cans at IKEA. Bought one for each house, just need to label them ' Hot Ash' and put out. Barbecue season is upon us! And, I can get a ciggy bin, a plastic planting urn, filled with sand, back out now that her tenants are old enough to not play in the sand.

And, she doesn't have pets, so I wouldn't get to pet anybody there anyway. Shucks!

thoughts? (by Hoosier [IN]) Posted on: Apr 4, 2024 11:30 PM

I think your communication was excellent…which is what you asked about.

thoughts? (by Vee [OH]) Posted on: Apr 5, 2024 8:10 AM

NE and others, this is why that location is preferred, me and mine are likely going out to seek fresh air, get a fresh run back in to rescue someone or something, if you can knock down the flames in your way your success rate will increase while the trucks are on the way and hoses are being unrolled to connect the hydrant to the fire.

thoughts? (by Busy [WI]) Posted on: Apr 5, 2024 8:50 AM

The like symbol: when looking at your thread of texts, hold your finger down on the comments you want to add a symbol . The bar with about five symbols will pop up.

thoughts? (by S i d [MO]) Posted on: Apr 5, 2024 8:57 AM

100% agree "get everyone out of the house" is the first, best, and only rule I would ever tell someone. That said, I don't even say that. Remember the old phrase, "Anything you say CAN and WILL be used against you?" I trust that, as thinking adults, they can make their own decisions. Will they make the same decisions I would make? Maybe, maybe not.... Every situation is different. A fire extinguisher is an "I can handle this".... until it isn't.

I'm 48 years old. Never had to use a fire extinguisher. We used to have one in our old house. It sat and collected dust until its expiration date and we tossed it. Never replaced it. Honestly, anything a fire extinguisher will be effective at can be handled with either baking soda and/or a thick, wet towel used to smother it. That's all a FE is... a smothering foam blanket made of non-flammable chemicals.

Do whatever makes sense for you. I don't see the need to provide an FE to my rentals. Tenants can get one and train themselves how to use it properly if they like. If not, I have insurance and working smoke detectors... which ARE 100% the tenant's liability to test and maintain per our lease agreement.


thoughts? (by NE [PA]) Posted on: Apr 5, 2024 10:05 AM

I would toss emergency escape ladders in the closets of second floor bedrooms or apartments though.

thoughts? (by WMH [NC]) Posted on: Apr 5, 2024 10:13 AM

We provide fire extinguishers - if they have a pan fire or something I'd prefer they could put that out rather than burn the house down. We've had two or three fires, none serious as yet, but any one of them could have been. But a place right next door to our quad burned down, people were killed, when a tenant left a hot grill on the back porch deck. During the night debris was blown into it and set the deck on fire...and there it went. Tenants couldn't get out of second floor :(

County rules are no grills on decks. We enforce that. They can store them there, but they can't use them there.

thoughts? (by jonny [NY]) Posted on: Apr 5, 2024 10:28 AM

6x6 you are doing the right thing with the fire extinguishers. Here, we (owners) are responsible for the fire extinguishers and they need to be inspected annually (by a company).

I just had the company install new ones (it's a 5 unit and a 6 unit) and they also stated there should be one in the basement (makes sense so I said just do it).

Fire extinguishers are not necessarily to put fires OUT they are to douse the fire enough to get the people OUT. Obviously, if it's a small fire that very well could be the way they put it out but if it's something they can't put out... it's there to allow them to douse it enough to get past and to safety.

Another little "tip" for you... especially if you are doing quarterly inspections (or whenever you are there)... take the fire extinguisher and tip it upside down then right side up. I was told this by an emergency preparedness person a few months ago (it was for homeowners but I carried it forward to other things) and that's so the extinguisher doesn't get jammed up and everything just settles to the bottom.

That made sense to me and it only takes a few moments to actually do that so why not just do it. Is it required to do? No. Is it something you can do to help the situation a little more? Yes. So why not just do it.

I imagine that it would be very similar to having smoke alarms and CO alarms ... provide them, have the proof that you did (pictures, reports, whatever) and then if something happens (like the tenant takes the detectors down without you knowing, etc) then at least you can TRY to cover yourself by showing proof of what you provided for THEIR SAFETY.

I've actually yelled (not really "yell" but loudly and in a "DAD VOICE") advise tenants on what they needed to do. I literally installed a smoke detector in a bedroom and one outside the door of the bedroom (per code) and the very next week I was talking with them and noticed they were both missing (just the holder was there... not the detectors).

They were smoking and they kept going off so they took them down. Yeah... I got VERY stern and told them to stop being an idiot. those are for YOUR and YOUR KIDS safety... DO NOT REMOVE THEM. Sad thing is that the building next door to them burnt down last year and it was because one of the tenants there "passed out on the couch with a cigarette in his hand"... and now there are 7 people without a place to live. Yeah... the smoke alarms were going off (even about two weeks later one was still "bbeeeeeeep.... beeeeeeeep"

They don't understand.

thoughts? (by 6x6 [TN]) Posted on: Apr 5, 2024 11:01 AM

Thank you everyone for the additional replies and tips.

RB, yes, I do have an office, sort of, kind of, in a way. I have a room in my house that I have my computer and filling cabinets in and a desk. Does that count?

Hoosier, thank you for the direct answer.

Busy, thank you for the tech tip. I see you noticed my other comments as well.

NE, do you mean that you would not toss emergence escape ladders?

jonny, thank you for the tip on turning the fire extinguishers. I actually do that now as well because a group of firemen told me about doing it. I think that is how they are tested anyway. They are also date stamped on the bottom of the Kiddie ones, not sure of the others as I haven't looked.

Everyone has had good thoughts on why to have them and/or why not to have them. I start to lean towards maybe not having them, and then I read an argument for having them and agree to that as well. I guess for the moment I will keep them but I do need to move it to the back door at a better height as Vee and others have stated. Keep the suggestions coming, I'm learning.

thoughts? (by BillW [NJ]) Posted on: Apr 5, 2024 11:15 AM

Around here the city does fire inspections each year and in addition to testing the smoke detectors they look for fire extinguishers in the kitchens.

I wonder if your city has an ordinance regarding fire extinguisher requirements in a rental home?

thoughts? (by Tim [CA]) Posted on: Apr 5, 2024 1:34 PM

No requirement here for a fire extinguisher. I've thought about it, but don't want the liability. Instead, I put fire blankets in all my rentals. --73.2.xx.xx

thoughts? (by NE [PA]) Posted on: Apr 5, 2024 1:49 PM

6x6, escape ladders. I would put them in 2nd story apartments/bedrooms.

thoughts? (by 6x6 [TN]) Posted on: Apr 5, 2024 4:33 PM

Thank you, NE and others.

thoughts? (by Small potatoes [NY]) Posted on: Apr 5, 2024 9:33 PM

6x, you might need that dad voice to tell the tenant not to put the new one under the sink, lol.

BTW when your county or municipality has a household hazardous waste collection event see if they take them, or perhaps the transfer station is set up for this. All else fails, fully discharge the extinguisher and recycle it w metal. I keep old ones around and use them to put out the fire pit when I turn in for the night.

thoughts? (by zero [IN]) Posted on: Apr 6, 2024 9:47 AM

When flipping the dry chem extinguishers I was taught to whack the bottom with a rubber mallet. That helps to make sure the chems dislodge and float free inside. You can use your palm but ouch.

Old guy that owned a fire safety company put on little seminars at the factory I was at. He would set a pan on fire and put it out with a newspaper. New people in the room always freaked out at first. --107.147.xx.xx

thoughts? (by Robin [WI]) Posted on: Apr 6, 2024 10:45 AM

We had a kitchen fire about three months ago. Tenant left something cooking on the stove and forgot about it. My owner had not acted on my counsel to mount a range hood above the stove, so the flames caught the old wooden cabinet above the stove on fire and it started to spread. Smoke alarms went off. Dumb Tenant came out and stood there in shock. Smart Tenant grabbed the fire extinguisher from where it was mounted on the wall opposite the stove and doused the flames. If it had been under the sink, he might not have even known/remembered in the heat of the moment where it was.

The cleanup was significant and several cabinets had to be replaced, but without that fire extinguisher handy I think the house would have been a total loss.

thoughts? (by 6x6 [TN]) Posted on: Apr 7, 2024 10:17 PM

Thank you for the other comments and tips.

thoughts? (by Ray-N-Pa [PA]) Posted on: Apr 9, 2024 7:04 AM

How you engage isn't as important as that you do engage your residents. So many folks out there use the avoid strategy - that doesn't work -it only creates messes on the back end.

thoughts? (by 6x6 [TN]) Posted on: Apr 12, 2024 6:50 PM

Thank you, Ray. I agree.

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