NEW Fire Prevention By-Law & NEW Inspection Fees with Focus on Illegal Rooming Houses
The Winnipeg Public Service has released a new report summarizing changes to the Fire Prevention By-Law, and new fees (See Pages 12-13) are being established to support business processes and services in the Fire Prevention Branch.
The NEW Fire Prevention By-law is expected to receive final approval from City Council on April 26, 2017, with changes in the following areas:
- Industrial Inspections
- Food Truck Inspections
- Illegal rooming house inspections to support the increase of three Fire Inspectors. Below, I am highlighting specifics of this requirement.
Illegal Rental Housing
The report indicates that “Fire Prevention foresees an increase in inspections of illegal rooming houses due to the amplified media and political attention to this issue. Fire Prevention will realize an increase in revenue from the new fees to be collected for the inspections of illegal suites/rooms and illegal rooming house inspections. . . . “.
- CLEARLY, our work is making a difference in combatting illegal housing. I have huge gratitude for the media who covers this topic.
- Reporting a suspected rooming house that may require a Fire Inspection is critical.
- I want to thank the Fort Richmond–University Heights Neighbourhood Association and ALL community residents for the work they are doing to educate residents on how to properly report by-law infractions, including suspected illegal rooming houses.
- YOUR WORK is greatly contributing to CHANGING by-laws, and giving ‘more teeth’ to the repercussions of not complying with by-laws.
Introduction of Fees for Inspections of Illegal Rooming Houses
Illegal Residential Units
- Fee of $100 per each illegal residential unit in the building for the inspection of illegal suites/rooms in licenced converted residential dwellings and illegal rooming houses, with a minimum fee of $500.
- Rationale: These inspections are initiated by a complaint from fire crews or the public and require research into the compliance with the Residential Buildings Fire Safety By-law No. 4304/86 and zoning requirements for the area, as well as historical information of the property with regard to permits obtained from the City’s Planning, Property and Development department.
Introduction of Other Fees
- Fee of $50 for renewal of an expired service licence, and fee of $127 per hour for a Senior Fire Prevention Officer to review reports from an architect or engineer’s assessment reports.
- Rationale: Imposing a fee for overdue licence renewals would deter Service Personnel from allowing their licences to lapse. Fees for reviewing Fire Code assessment reports is required to cover the cost of time required for Fire Prevention to review these comprehensive reports.
Emergency Installation of a Smoke Alarm
- Fee of $142 each for the emergency installation of a smoke alarm.
- Rationale: Smoke alarms are the most important early warning system in occupancies for a safe evacuation in the event of a fire. The By-law permits a member of the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service to install a functioning smoke alarm in rented residential premises or illegal rooming houses where a smoke alarm is missing or malfunctioning. The installation would take place in the event that the owner could not be contacted or refused to install the smoke alarm in a timely manner.
In addition, a fee of $800 for every missing smoke detector is in existence, which makes the total potential Fire Prevention fee for operating an illegal rooming house in the THOUSANDS of dollars.
In summary, it is CRITICAL for community members to report a suspected rooming house. The City has more Fire Inspectors and stiffer ‘fees’ are in place for landlords who do not comply.