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Tenant Owned Hazards & Flammables

REAC Inspection Rules About Tenant Owned Hazards & Flammables

Under the recent changes to REAC and the UPCS Inspection Code, a distinction was made regarding "hazards affecting only tenant owned items" such as broken mirrors, broken furniture exposing sharp edges, expired tenant owned fire extinguishers, play equipment inside/outside, fan covers, picture frames and other items that are tenant-owned and creating a hazardous condition. Under the new ruling, all items of this nature should be noted under "Hazards - Other", instead of "sharp edges", "Tripping", etc. which do not negatively impact your score. This does not matter so much for tax credit properties as "Hazards - Other" is still an L3 health and safety violation regardless if it scores zero points as a violation.

The "exception" to this rule relates to "Flammable or Combustible Materials that are stored near a heat or electrical source". As noted, flammable or combustible materials may include, but are not limited to, gasoline, paint thinners, kerosene, propane, paper, boxes, plastics, etc. The etc., for example, can mean any objects stored in a furnace or boiler room, clothes or paper stored on radiant heat covers, plastics or cardboard in or on an oven and even plastic handles on pots and pans stored in the oven; basically, anything that the inspector thinks may present a flammable hazard.

To put this into perspective, we could ask the question, "what is the exact distance that flammables can be from an electrical source?" There is no defined answer for this. It could be inches away or 20 feet. It's up to the inspector to define based on what he/she is comfortable with. Gasoline-fueled power equipment with gasoline in the tank stored in a residential building's basement is an "Improperly Stored" deficiency. We have also seen cardboard stored close to an electrical outlet as "improperly stored" flammable materials.

We suspect that an official clarification may be issued in the future, but for the time being - we suggest that all managers and owners pay close to attention to any items that could fall into this category. 

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