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Cancelling fire alarm monitoring for non-payment 

May 17, 2024
Cancelling fire alarm monitoring for non-payment
          I have a commercial fire alarm system in a non-profit student resident center. We are only in the second or third year of your standard ten-year Fire All in One alarm contract. The facility has new management and is now more than six months late for their annual payment.
          My question is how do I handle cancelling the central station monitoring? Do I send letters via certified mail, regular or email?  This facility is in NYC and as soon as I cancel FDNY will show up to see what is going on and will deem the property unsafe if the system is not properly monitored. I have given plenty of warning that I intend to cancel without payment but do I need to take additional steps beyond the normal procedure to cancel a burglar alarm system? I have even offered them a small discount in order to get things back on track. I have given them until the morning of Friday, May 17th to submit payment in full or the account will be forwarded to K&K for collection, and I will cancel all services.  
          This fire alarm is in NYC, which puts me on high alert, but what you need to do and should do is applicable in most jurisdictions where there is AHJ fire alarm enforcement.  Unlike a security system you should not terminate fire alarm monitoring without notifying the AHJ and the subscriber.  Some jurisdictions may impose rules for terminating fire alarms. While I don’t think any jurisdiction can require you to continue fire alarm monitoring there can certainly be notice requirements.
          Unless the AHJ has specific notice requirements any form of communication should suffice, as long as you can prove you sent it.  I am not a fan of certified mail, so don’t use it unless required by statute or contract.  The Kirschenbaum Contracts™ do not call for certified mail and it would actually be wrong to use certified mail unless it is required.  Regular mail, even email, is acceptable notice. 
          It’s important to know how to give proper notice, both leading up to a termination and then actually terminating.  Your initial letter [or email] is likely a notice that payment has not been received.  Typically that notice will specify that payment must be made by such and such date and that if it isn’t services will be terminated.
          After the date specified comes and goes, without payment, you can then proceed with the termination notice.  This notice must not offer any opportunity to cure the default in payment or other default if there is one.  This notice simply states that services will be terminated on such and such date at such and such time.  This notice confirms that your services will terminate and the subscriber will be held to the contract.  With fire alarm monitoring you usually will have to notify the AHJ and in the way the AHJ prescribes. 
          Since this is an account that you will seek to pursue in collection I suggest you not terminate monitoring until after we have commenced proceedings.  In your case we will be serving a Demand for Arbitration and it will be interesting to see if the subscriber claims the alarm isn’t working when you can easily confirm that according to central station records the alarm is working. 
          Finally, change in managing agent for the property owner does not terminate the contract unless the contract expressly states that it is between you and the management company, and not the management company on behalf of the owner [which is almost always the case]. 

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Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq
Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Attorneys at Law
200 Garden City Plaza
Garden City, NY 11530
516 747 6700 x 301