3 Replies

Do you permit tenants' use of candles of attempt to regulate their use? I use a standard lease which has the following clause:

"The tenant shall not do, bring or keep anything in the Rented Premises, or permit or suffer such act which will in any way create a risk of fire or increase the rate of fire insurance on the building or contents."

I visited tenants at one of my units recently and found them burning half a dozen or more candles, spread throughout the living area. Having just seen a Fire Department Inspector make a presentation to a landlord group I was alarmed and asked the tenant to refrain from using candles. They were not happy and insisted that they could do so. I asked them to take reasonable steps to avoid a fire and made arrangements to deliver an additional fire extinguisher for the living room.

Would you have done any more or have done things differently? It seems to me that excessive candle use could be seen as negligence and that both the tenants and us would be sued in the case that fire caused by them created losses for others in the building. Has anyone addressed this issue before?

Whenever I read material from the fire department it contains a series of imperatives for landlords as for instance in the case of provision and maintenance of smoke detectors. I never question them and am always concerned to respond to all issues regarding fire. My tenants seem less engaged with these issues and are not responding fully to my efforts to sensitise them to the risks that they are potentially running with their and my property and with their safety and that of their neighbours.


We do not prohibit our tenants from using candles or from burning incense, but both are a concern.

The incense is often to cover the smell of pot.  After a maintenance inspection my husband said "see, they are taking care of it and it smells nice".  I just rolled my eyes at him.

We had a responsible tenant move out and there was pink goo all over the walls.  We realized that it was candle wax; when they blew out the candles the wet wax hit the nearby wall.  It was darn near impossible to get off.  

Hopefully you'll get some good input about the fire hazard. If it is a multi family I'd be more concerned than if it is a SFR. We had a tenant start a fire once, and the other tenant in the duplex threw a fit that they were in danger. We assured them that putting food on the stove and leaving the premises was not acceptable behavior & we'd be following up and they settled down.

Good luck!

It is a multifamiliy in that it is a condo in a large building. They had a dryer fire a couple of years ago and it did a lot of damage.

This is one of those uneven issues: the landlord absolutely has to act responsibly and with due regard to safety. For the tenant this seems to be a sort of optional extra. I have no doubt that if a fire damaged other units they would come after us as well as the tenants. We have $2m in landlord's coverage. I know the tenants have insurance because they showed me a copy of their policy a couple of months ago. Canada is not as litigious as the US (yet) but if people have losses they are going to sue those they can. I think I have taken reasonable steps to address this problem. As a practical matter I can't stop them from burning candles since I can't monitor their behavior all the time. But having a large number of  candles spread out about the room really worried me. The tenants are just out of university and seem not to be very aware of consideration for others. A millenial problem?

@Stephen E.

We prohibit the burning of anything in our properties: tobacco, candles, incense, ganja, etc.  However, as mentioned above, there is no practical way to police it, but incense or fragrant candles are frequently cover-ups for smoking {something} indoors.   

We make it very clear to our tenants that they will be financially liable for any remediation arising from burning candles or incense. We had a student last year whose bedroom was filled with wax smudge from burning candles. When we moved out, we threw out the blinds and drapes (and replaced them); washed the walls several times with TSP; primed with two coats of Zinsser; and repainted the entire room. We then invoiced him and Mom, who was the guarantor), for the cost (~$400.00).

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