When you own a rental property, safety is something that you should always keep in mind. Here are some tips on creating a safe environment at your rental.
1. Always Screen Applicants
Completing a thorough screening on all of your applicants is a way to determine if a prospect will be a good fit for a rental property. Not only does this protect the landlord and property manager from issues, but it also protects other tenants, if you have a multi-family housing unit. It is important to use the same screening process for all of your renters and comply with federal, state, and local laws regarding Fair Housing.
2. Make Repairs Immediately
It’s easy to prioritize an emergency, like a broken water line, but don’t let smaller repairs go unnoticed. Small nuisances can quickly become hazardous over time. A loose floor board or cracked stair could lead to a tenant’s injury.
Make sure that railings and banisters for staircases are secure, inside and outside the property. If your exterior staircases have the tendency to be slippery, you could consider investing in skid-resistance stair treads. Routine maintenance can keep many of these issues from happening, but unexpected repairs do come up.
3. Communicate with Tenants
Your renters can provide valuable information in regards to the condition of the property, so be sure to listen to what they have to say. If there’s a task that you aren’t able to fix right away, let your tenants know promptly. Chances are, your renters have noticed the issue, so it’s better to address it and keep the line of communication open.
When doing a walkthrough with your tenants, point out where important safety features are and how they work. Show them how to shut off the power and test smoke detectors. Don’t forget about a lead-based paint disclosure. Federal law requires that before signing a lease for housing built before 1978.
4. Maintain Security Measures
Keeping renters and rentals safe is easier when security measures are in place. If you have an alarm system, be sure to show your tenants how to use it. Make sure that there are locks on doors and windows and that they close tightly and securely. Motion-sensor lights placed strategically on the exterior of the property can prevent crime and injury to your tenants in places that are too dark to navigate safely.
5. Check HVAC and Electrical Systems
Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning units should be in working order. Unchecked systems can waste a lot of energy and increase the risk of a fire. Check with the manufacturer to see what they recommend for routine maintenance.
6. Test Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detectors
According to the National Fire Protection Association, three out of five home fire fatalities occur at homes without a smoke detector. They recommend testing smoke detectors once a month and replacing them after ten years, or whenever they stop making a sound when tested. You can read more amount this at the website for the U.S. Fire Administration. Carbon monoxide detectors should be also checked and the batteries should be replaced as needed.
Make safety a priority at your rental property so that you can protect your tenants and your investment for years to come.
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