Landlords: 5 Safety Tips to Consider
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:
1. Make Rental Properties Easy to Find
A simple way to improve the safety of your properties is to make sure the building numbers are large enough to be seen from the street, says the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors. This may help emergency personnel quickly locate a specific building, which may save time in an urgent situation. You may also want to clear tree limbs, prune bushes or remove any other obstructions that could cover the numbers on the buildings.
2. Practice Proper Fire and Carbon Monoxide Safety
Make sure your properties are fully equipped with smoke detectors and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms, says 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, according to the NFPA. A detailed evacuation plan should also be set up, reviewed with tenants and posted throughout the buildings. Consider asking your tenants if anyone needs special assistance and offer additional support accordingly, says the City of Phoenix. Remember to test your smoke and CO alarm systems monthly to help ensure proper functionality, says the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). This process may include cleaning detectors and replacing batteries.
3. Inspect Electrical Systems
Electrical issues may be the cause of more than 51,000 home fires each year, according to the Electrical Safety Foundation International. As a landlord, you need to make sure electrical systems and wiring are installed correctly in your buildings. In fact, the CPSC suggests having electrical systems inspected 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.
4. Maintain Furnace and HVAC Systems
Furnace and heating, ventilation and air conditioning units need routine service to help ensure efficient operation and potentially reduce the risk of a fire hazard, says EnergyStar.gov. Consider having a professional come in to tighten any loose electrical connections, oil any moving parts and inspect the gas connections, EnergyStar.gov suggests.
5. Take Security Precautions
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.
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.
Originally published on April 27, 2016.