Self-Closing Doors

Self-Closing Doors

Apartment doors and hallway doors are required by law to swing closed and latch by themselves after being opened (self-closing) so that in the case of a fire no one needs to remember to close the door to trap the fire and smoke and stop it from spreading. Doors that stay open allow fire and smoke to spread to hallways and other apartments! Self-closing doors should never be blocked from closing all the way.

Property owners and tenants can prevent a fire from spreading by making sure apartment and public hallway doors are operating properly.

How to Make Sure Self-Closing Doors Are Operating Properly

Test it! Unless a door is visibly damaged, you will not know if it is operating properly until you test it.

  1. Does the door swing fully shut and close completely after being opened fully?
  2. If there is a latch, does it engage?
  3. Note any underlying condition or obstruction that prevents the self-closing door from operating properly:
    • Door needs refitting – there is a large gap at the bottom of the apartment door
    • Defective closing mechanism
    • Device or item holding, or capable of holding, the door open
  4. Is there any damage to the self-closing mechanism?
  5. Are the hinges intact, or are they loose or missing?

When testing a door with an overhead closer, open the door as far as possible to check for any hold-open mechanism.

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Tenant Responsibilities

Tenants should not tamper with self-closing doors by propping doors open with objects, taping the latch, using wood wedges or kick-down door stops, or overriding the closing device.

As a tenant you should:

  • Check your door to make sure it is self-closing
  • Contact the property owner of your building if your front door doesn't self-close or if there are other fire safety issues in your building
  • Call 311 to file a fire safety issue complaint

Learn more about self-closing doors and fire safety:

Owner Requirements

Property owners should check self-closing doors periodically and must make prompt repairs to door closing mechanisms or defective doors and door frames.

Learn more about your self-closing door responsibiltiies as a property owner: