When running a residential property, home safety is one of the key aspects you should focus on. Your state or city may even provide building safety and health guidelines that are used to guide landlords as they offer their property as rented premises.
Landlords should ensure that they conduct routine property inspections to ascertain the safety of their properties. This should be done not just to comply with the state laws and habitability codes but also because they have a duty to their tenants. By conducting the safety inspections, a landlord may also avoid financial implications from accidents that could be prevented.
In this article, we at T-Square Properties, a premier management company in King and Snohomish Counties, will provide you with tips on how landlords can determine whether their investment property meets the required safety standards.
Determining Whether or Not Your Rental Meets Safety Standards
Have Functioning Fire Alarms and Smoke Detectors
Fire safety is an essential requirement for any rental unit. Landlords should ensure that all fire alarms and smoke detectors are functional. Set a schedule where you inspect to verify that they are functional.
From time to time, it’s recommended that you conduct a fire drill as well. All tenants should receive notice of the fire drill in advance to reduce stress and confusion. Apart from checking the functionality of the alarm system, it’s also a good time to educate your tenants on the safety measures required in case of an actual fire.
You should also have your fire extinguishers inspected after a certain period to ensure that they are in good working order.
Check for Stair Safety
Stairs are common areas where injuries happen in rental units. Ensure that the finish used on the stairway is non-slip to avoid accidents. Also, ask your cleaners to make sure that the staircases are always dry since water can be another cause of falls.
What’s more, having good lighting along the staircases can help minimize the number of accidents that happen.
Regularly Check the Electrical Systems
Having poor electrical installation is dangerous and poses a safety risk to your tenants. Poorly installed electrical systems can cause electrical shocks or even lead to fires. It also poses a risk when using other electrical devices.
You should hire a professional electrician to install and regularly inspect the power outlets and wires. All electrical panels should be reviewed and faulty wirings checked. If there are any repairs required ensure that they are made as fast as possible to avoid any accidents from happening.
Pay Attention to the Walls, Floors, and Ceilings
Just like the stairs, floors can also be slippery. It’s therefore important to make sure that your floors are non-slip to avoid falls. You also want to make sure that there’s aren’t any loose floorboards that can become a tripping hazard.
For walls, ensure that they don’t have huge cracks that could be hiding spots for pests or water damage on walls. Finally, ceilings should meet the required height for proper insulation standards. If your walls, ceilings, or floors are faulty, schedule with a professional contractor to have them repaired. The best time to make such repairs is when the unit is vacant.
Inspect Heating Systems
Heating systems can cause fire outbreaks if not well maintained and regularly inspected. If you want to keep your property safe from fires, ensure that you regularly inspect the boiler to make sure that it’s functional. Signs of a faulty boiler include irregularly slow heating, radiators heating up unevenly and the boiler being noisier than usual.
Check the Plumbing
Issues in plumbing can compromise the hygiene of the property and the health of your tenants. Signs of faulty plumbing include leaks, lack of water, and or discoloration of water. This can result in an unpleasant smell and damage to some equipment.
Ensure to include water and plumbing checks in your regular inspections.
Installation of Ground Fault Interrupting Outlets (GFIs)
It’s a requirement that rental units have GFIs installed in at least the following locations; bathrooms, kitchen, and laundry room. GFIs are safety devices that aid to prevent fire and shocks.
Prevent Pest Infestation
Pests are unsanitary and a nuisance to the residents. They spread diseases and could lead to a high tenant turnover. Some of the common pests include cockroaches, rats, and mice. To avoid your property from being infested by pests ensure that you conduct routine inspections and potential fumigations to keep pests at bay.
Make sure that your property is also clean and that garbage is properly disposed of. Dirty and unkempt areas are breeding grounds for such pests. You should also encourage your tenants to keep their units clean to avoid creating breeding grounds for pests.
Don’t Use Lead-Based Paints
Lead is a toxic metal that is also poisonous. Lead could become very hazardous to a person’s health and can even prove to be fatal. Make sure that you don’t use paints and other materials that contain lead. Be sure to consult with professionals before using a certain chemical to avoid putting your tenants’ health at risk.
Having a safe property is essential to the success of your investment. Before renting out your property, it’s recommended for landlords to carry out an inspection and certify that the building meets all the health and safety guidelines.
A landlord should ensure that the tenants are safe at all times. Having a landlord that cares for the safety and wellbeing of his tenants will also improve the relationship with tenants and ensure that your tenants are their long-term.
T-Square Properties is a trusted property management company, managing multifamily, single-family homes, and apartment complexes in King County and Snohomish County. Contact us today to learn more about our services!