Fatal fire starts conversation on tenant, landlord rights - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Fatal fire starts conversation on tenant, landlord rights

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A fatal house fire over the weekend has sparked a conversation about tenant and landlord rights. A fatal house fire over the weekend has sparked a conversation about tenant and landlord rights.
SPOKANE, Wash. -

The Spokane County Medical Examiner released the name of the second victim who died in a Spokane house fire Saturday.

38-year-old Christopher Rusco died from breathing in too much smoke.

Family friends say he was the boyfriend of 38-year-old Stacy Hains, who also died from breathing in too much smoke.

Investigators say the cause of the fire is still under investigation, but at this point it's been ruled an accident.

According to Hains' father, the family did have smoke detectors in the home. He said one had a dead battery and the other melted away in the fire.

He says he knows they had at least two smoke detectors because he installed them himself.

This tragedy has sparked a conversation over tenant and landlord rights.

Even though Stacy's father said he installed the smoke detectors himself, it's actually the landlord who is legally responsible for installing working smoke detectors.

The landlord is also required to provide written documentation that they are working at the time the tenant signs the lease.

It's the tenant's responsibility to maintain the smoke detector, which means changing the battery.

If you test your smoke detector and it's not working, you're required to notify your landlord of the failure.

You do have other rights as a tenant. For example, your landlord has to make sure all your utilities and appliances work before you sign a lease.

They also have to make sure there are no structural issues, and that your home is liveable.

Tenants have responsibilities, too. The property has to be in the same condition it was in when you moved in.

If your landlord doesn't fix your utilities or appliance, you must continue paying rent.

You have a few options like taking them to court or filing a complaint, but if you don't pay rent, your landlord can start the eviction process.

For more information on tenant and landlord rights, click here: www.washingtonlawhelp.org 

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