As a landlord, knowing how to properly maintain your rental properties can be crucial. Following the right safety precautions may help you better protect your tenants and properties and avoid a potential emergency. Here are some safety tips to consider when protecting your properties:
A simple way to help improve the safety of your rental properties is to make sure the building numbers are large enough to be seen from the street, says the Live Safe Foundation. This may help emergency personnel quickly locate your properties, if needed. You may also want to clear tree limbs, prune bushes or remove any other obstructions that may cover the numbers on the buildings, according to the Live Safe Foundation.
Make sure your properties are fully equipped with smoke detectors and CO alarms. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), at a minimum, all bedrooms and commonly used hallways on each floor of a building should have smoke detectors and CO alarms. A detailed evacuation plan should be set up and posted throughout the buildings, and it may be a good idea to review the plan with your tenants. Also, consider asking your tenants if anyone needs special assistance and offer additional support accordingly, says the City of Phoenix. Don’t forget to test your smoke and CO alarm systems monthly to help ensure it’s fully functioning, says the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). This process may include cleaning detectors and replacing batteries.
Electrical issues may be the cause of around 51,000 home fires each year, according to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI). As the landlord, you need to make sure electrical systems and wiring are installed correctly in your buildings. In fact, the CPSC suggests having electrical systems checked by a qualified electrician if it hasn’t been done in 10 years or more. Also, consider encouraging your tenants to try and avoid possible fire starters, such as improperly using extension cords or overloading circuits to help with electrical safety, says the NFPA.
Furnace and HVAC units need routine service to help ensure efficient operation and potentially reduce the risk of a fire hazard. Consider having a professional come in to tighten any loose electrical connections, oil any moving parts and inspect the gas connections, according to EnergyStar.gov.
As a landlord, it is important to provide a safe environment for your tenants, but don’t forget about your own safety. Utilize a fair and thorough screening process for all tenants. This can include background and credit checks as well as looking into rental histories and calling references, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Being a landlord comes with a lot of responsibility. Following these safety tips may help protect you, your tenants and your properties in the long run.