Sunday, May 29, 2011

Fire! What to Watch For When Renting a Paris Apartment

Paris is an old city with old water pipes and – in still too many apartments for rent or occupied by their owners – with old electric wiring. As a result, water damages and fires are constant. Although it won’t be mandatory to install smoke detectors in French homes for another five years ( #2010-238 of March 9th, 2010), landlords of furnished apartments should take the initiative to install these ceiling detectors as soon as possible.

Numbers are horrendous! In France, a fire due to domestic causes happens every two minutes. One fire in 4 is due to electrical deficiency; one in 6 is due to smokers (smoking in bed, emptying an ashtray too soon, etc.); one in 8 happens in the kitchen.

Because of negligence, 250 000 residences a year are damaged, 10 000 inhabitants are injured, some 3 000 are disabled, and 800 are killed.

Any responsible adult, for the well-being of his family, should see that a detector is fixed on the ceiling of both the living room and in the kitchen of his home. Theses fixtures are readily available in all department stores.

But, most of all, if you rent and entrust your apartment to an expatriate, you should think of protecting this person, and your flat, for you don’t know his/her habits. When I lived in the United States, I remember that in most homes all the lights were on, even when one would go out for a while. Yet, it is when too many lights and electrical elements are on all together that a fire can start in a home lacking sufficient electrical power.

So beware, protect your tenant (you would not want to have to call his/her family), and make sure your furnished apartment stays so!

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