apartment, property management, real estate

Fires and Codes

All property owners fear new codes and regulations because of cost.  Unfortunately some can not be avoided and are necessary changes to keep occupants safe.   Retrofitting a building with sprinklers is daunting but should it be required no matter what the cost is?  How about alarms?  Some defects may not be able to be changed as in the high rises in England only having one stair case in high rises.  I can’t imagine any builder allowing that but it seems to be common.

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landlord, property management, real estate

Building codes

Court freezes Portland landlord’s assets in lawsuit over fire that killed six

The $1.7 million worth of property will probably be needed to pay damages to a victim’s family, says the judge in a case that reveals new details about Maine’s deadliest fire in 40 years.

The heavily damaged building remains at 20 Noyes St. in Portland. Sworn statements from a former tenant and two fire survivors indicate there were no smoke detectors in one side of the duplex and a bookcase blocked a back stairway, forcing tenants to jump from a second-story window.

The heavily damaged building remains at 20 Noyes St. in Portland. Sworn statements from a former tenant and two fire survivors indicate there were no smoke detectors in one side of the duplex and a bookcase blocked a back stairway, forcing tenants to jump from a second-story window. Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer

A Superior Court judge has ruled that the wife and children of a Rockland man who was one of six people killed in last month’s apartment house fire in Portland likely would receive a judgment against the building’s landlord. The judge ordered a freeze on $1.7 million of the landlord’s real estate assets in Cumberland County in case they’re needed to pay out any future claims.

The preliminary ruling is based partly on statements by fire survivors who said the building lacked working smoke alarms and had a blocked exit, and on details about how Steven Summers suffered severe burns and was conscious for several days before he died.

The judge’s order was issued Tuesday without a response from the defendant, landlord Gregory Nisbet, who has 21 days to appeal. It does not represent a final judgment in the civil lawsuit, which was filed Nov. 21.

“It is more likely than not that in this action the plaintiff will recover judgment, including interest and costs, in an amount not less than $1.7 million,” Justice Joyce Wheeler wrote in the order.

The suit is the first to result from Maine’s deadliest fire in 40 years. The fast-moving blaze that started early on Nov. 1 remains under investigation.

Sworn statements contained in court records from a former tenant and two people who survived the fire indicate there were no smoke detectors installed at 20 Noyes St. and a bookcase blocked a back stairway, forcing survivors to jump from a second-story window.

Read More: http://www.pressherald.com/2014/12/05/court-freezes-landlords-assets-after-portland-fire-that-killed-six/

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landlord, property management, real estate

Housing Codes

I haven’t met a landlord yet that likes building codes, enforcement and inspections.  I don’t either.  I don’t like building permits and licenses and fees.  I think it is ridiculous that we need to pay $300 for permits and inspections to replace a water heater.  Codes are always changing.  Housing codes vary from municipality to municipality and they change from year to year.  Some cities can’t even get the fire department to agree with the city codes requirements.   That is VERY confusing!

Smoke detectors went from a new item a few years ago with 9 volt batteries.  Then came electric,  10 year lithium and 10 year lithium with electric back up.  I doubt that 9 volt detectors are accepted anywhere anymore (and for good reason).   Now we are entering the age of required carbon monoxide detectors.

For all the negatives, there are positives.  Do we want houses with wiring from the early 1900’s?  Do we want buildings without smoke detectors?  How about proper plumbing?  I work in developing nations and see wiring and plumbing that scare me to death.  I don’t know how some of these contraptions work and I wonder how many people get killed.  I have taken showers with electric water heater heads (and exposed wires) that need to be messed with during the shower while I am standing in water!   Sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t.

Below is a recent picture that a friend just sent from Guatemala.  I think all of you would agree that we can’t allow this and we need to work with code enforcers to not allow anything like that here.  My friend commented “I wonder if this works when it rains?”

electric

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