Whether you’re just getting ready to rent out your property for the first time, you’re in between tenants, or you just want to make sure everything is in order for the new year, it never hurts to take a quick look at the state of your property when it comes to safety. In fact, because tenants have a right to a safe home, you are required to make sure your property meets certain safety standards.
While you’ll definitely want to talk to a property management company or similar expert to learn the specific requirements for your property, there are some basic things you can (and should) do regularly to make sure your property is safe for occupancy. Here is a starter checklist of things to keep an eye on.
Structural elements. These include the very basics: floors, walls, ceilings. Check for anything that is out of order either visually or functionally. If the floor slopes or bends, there could be foundational issues. If there are any “soft spots” in hard floors, or stains that don’t go away or that keep coming back, that could be a sign of water damage. Similarly, unevenness, cracks, bulges, or stains on the walls or ceilings could indicate a serious issue that requires immediate attention.
Non-working outlets or switches could be a sign of faulty wiring, and they should be examined by an electrician to avoid the possibility of electrical fires.
Heating and cooling systems
Not only are HVAC systems important for your tenant’s comfort, problems with these systems could create safety issues if left unchecked. Regular cleaning can avoid a lot of problems, and will be much cheaper than handling water or fire damage caused by a neglected system.
This is as simple as making sure things like the refrigerator (if your property includes one), microwave, stove, and oven work properly. Do they reach appropriate temperatures? Do all the burners work as they should?
You definitely want to make sure there are no plumbing leaks in the house, as those problems can cause water damage—whether that’s structural damage or a health risk (like mold). Check faucets, showers and tubs, and toilets.
You’ll want to make sure the exterior of your property—both in the front and back of the house—is well lit. This is a big safety benefit to tenants who may be outside at night, and it also could deter criminals from trespassing on the property. Also, make sure all pavement is well kept and no repairs are needed, and that there aren’t any large holes or problems with the landscaping.
Cracked windows could be a big safety hazard to tenants. Similarly, all windows should have working locks on them; this ensures that children do not open (and potentially fall out of) windows from the inside, and also takes another step in deterring criminal activity on your property.
Check smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, water detectors, and any security alarms or cameras you have to make sure they are in good working order. Also, make sure your rental agreements clearly outline who is in charge of maintaining these alarms and paying for repairs/replacements.
Creating a safe place for your tenants to live should be priority number one for all landlords and property owners. Keeping to this basic checklist will help you stay on top of any safety related issues at your property, before someone gets hurt.
Need a hand with maintenance or repairs? Want help finding the perfect tenant for your space? Real Property Management can answer your questions and help you prepare, market, fill, and manage your rental properties, saving you time, money, and headaches. Contact us today at 480-719-1243 to see what our years of experience can do for you.