BOZEMAN, Mont. - The Bozeman Fire Department's started a new project aimed at helping renters know if the apartment they plan to rent is safe.
Peak Property Management owner Kevin O'Brien knows navigating the landscape of property rental can be confusing.
He says, "It's a good thing to have these people looking out for the less experienced renters." O'Brien was talking about a new initiative from the Bozeman Fire Department looking to make renting a bit easier to understand in at least one category.
"It's basically about rental safety," said Bozeman Fire Marshal Jack Coburn. "The thing we want to emphasize is it's about education."
Coburn told us renters or landlords can call the fire department to come and inspect any property at any time.
NBC Montana walked through a vacant apartment in Bozeman on Monday with the inspection checklist used by the fire department. It outlines everything from smoke detectors, to locks on the door. It dictates electrical panels be easily accessible and that windows must be able to open at least 50 percent for ventilation.
Fire Marshal Coburn elaborated, "Minimum safety standards is what we're looking at. And primarily the things that get people in trouble are either non-working or missing smoke detectors."
But they're not just looking to make sure the buildings have smoke detectors, they also check to make sure each sleeping area has one as well as the areas leading to them.
"Bozeman fire department has always conducted inspections when requested," said Coburn. "Problem is that people don't know that."
The goal of the initiative is to let the public know that these inspections are available. And now, once complete, will be posted online. Coburn continued, "And know that these properties have already been inspected and certified to meet the minimum standards of the code."
Kevin O'Brien tells NBC Montana he is glad to see the fire department working with property owners to keep people safe. He said, "That's their ultimate goal, is the safety of the property which is going to translate to the safety of the tenant."
Inspections are good for three years. The Bozeman Fire Department hopes to have inspections online no later then the end of this month.