New Codes For Rental Homes — What is Required of the Owner?
Here at Countryside Alarms, we’re committed to stay abreast of changes in the Fire & Building Safety Code. We are the leading experts in Vermont, and we believe in helping property owners understand the rules and ensure the safety of their renters while keeping costs to a minimum. Without help, the complex bureaucracy can be both intimidating and costly to navigate. When we come to inspect your building, we are working for you, not the State. We will always give you an honest assessment of what you need without promoting unnecessary expense. We will work with you to find the most cost-effective way to meet minimum code and protect your property and its occupants.
On October 23, 2005 Vermont enacted the current Fire & Building Safety Code. A major change to the code was the addition of 18.104.22.168.1 which redefines a single family home which is rented. Under this rule, the safety code identifies the building occupancy class by the number of sleeping Bed Spaces. A Bed Space is considered a pull out sofa bed, bunks, futons, and beds. If the space can sleep two, then it is counted as two, and so on. As the sleeping numbers increase, so do the requirements.
- Single Family Rental Occupancy: is for 1-8 bed spaces.
- Duplex (1&2 family) with a single owner where one unit rents in the 1-8 bedspace category and the second rents in the 9-16 bedspace category, the more stringent 9-16 rules must be followed for both.
- Duplex Townhouse (units not owned by the same person) where 1-8 bedspace category is on one side, and 9-16 bedspace category on the other, the more stringent 9-16 rules don’t apply to the 1-8 side.
- Rooming & Lodging Rental Occupancy: is for 9-16 bed spaces.
- Hotel Occupancy: You might think this was for large hotels, but in fact this is also the standard for homes with 17 bed spaces or more.
We cover more then just smoke & CO detectors. We also look at bedroom egress windows, staircases, commercial fire systems, fire extinguishers, vented heating and locking of exit doors. If some of these areas are not code compliant, a full sprinkler system will be required or you must stop renting.
It is our goal to help advise you of your options. Most homeowners are renting for income to help pay the cost of their second home in Vermont. If an owner is caught with violations, in most cases, the compliance time before fines & penalties are applied is 90 days. At this point, any chance of qualifying with the existing system has disappeared; and you will have to bring the system up to the current code.
Beware that your renters can notify the State of Vermont Public Safety of code violations, and some do just to avoid paying the full lodging fees.
From the beginning of 2007 to date, the number of inspectors has more than doubled. This has been done to locate rental occupancies and make sure that they all comply with the current code standards. The State is cracking down.
We want to help make any rental owner aware of their current situation by providing the following safety requirements to be in compliance, based on the number your property sleeps. This is safety for yourself, as well as those who are renting from you.