Landlords have an obligation to maintain habitable conditions in residential buildings. This includes providing essential services like electricity, hot water and heat (during the coldest months of the year), and ensuring that physical conditions do not threaten the life, health, or safety of tenants.
Preparing your building(s) and residents for a weather related or other emergency such as a prolonged power outage is critical.
Before an Emergency Occurs
Develop an Emergency Plan; communicate it to all tenants and post it throughout the building.
- Include relocation contingencies, such as location of your nearest identified emergency meeting point, available units in other buildings within your portfolio, transportation for tenants, etc.
- In your plan be sure to include considerations for security with contact information (site security if the building is evacuated)
- Implement a resiliency plan to improve the facility's ability to weather and emergency (enhanced windows, drainage systems etc.)
- Encourage all residents/tenants to have adequate insurance
- Host a preparedness workshop
- Have up-to-date contact information for tenants and their emergency contacts
- Have a plan for maintaining necessary on-site services and determine special needs
- Have a plan for checking in on your tenants before and after the event to see if assistance is required.
When an Emergency Occurs
- Have your property manager or superintendent conduct an immediate assessment of your property post-event.
- City agencies may contact you to conduct physical inspections of the property to see if there is damage to the property. If the City contacts you by phone or email, respond quickly and appropriately
- Activate your security plan
If your building has sustained damage and you are working on making repairs:
- Let your tenants know, especially if you are experiencing delays
- Keep tenants informed of repair progress and let them know of any intermediary solutions you can provide.
- If heat is affected, please take any steps recommended by professionals to keep pipes from freezing, as this may cause additional damage to your property and further delay restoration of services.
- Let tenants know where to pick up mail as you arrange with Canada Post
Other tips for Preparing in Advance
- Have a Community Bulletin Board where you post regular safety updates and where update will be routinely posted in the event of an emergency.
- Conduct annual evacuation drills. Designate a meeting point at least 50 metres from your building.
- Consider implementing 'Floor Captains' in your building where a volunteer resident maintains a focus on group safety.
- Encourage all residents to have a personal preparedness kit that will lessen the impacts of an emergency event.
- Have a supply of Emergency Lighting devices such as LED flashlights to supplement the building's emergency lighting
- Have at least one battery / crank radio available that can be used in a common area for tenants to receive necessary information.
- Evacuation Chairs for vulnerable residents that may not be mobile enough to easily evacuate the building during an extended power disruption
- Install a backup generator – ideally big enough to power all the building's needs but minimally to power one elevator to allow all residents to evacuate if necessary