Residential real estate owners have a lot on their plates. Not only do you have to find and screen tenants, but you also have to ensure that your property is up to code and compliant with all city, state, and federal regulations. You also have to worry about safety—yours, your tenants, and your property.
There are many things you can do to increase safety in your rentals, but we’re going to focus on five key areas. You can go a long way toward keeping your tenants safe and decreasing your liability exposure with the help of the following tips.
Regular Maintenance and Repair
Not all owners try to keep up with the residential real estate’s maintenance. Some would only come after a tenant complains about a unit’s existing problem. As an owner, you have the legal obligation to maintain a habitable living space for your tenants. This means that you must make repairs on time when problems arise.
By keeping up with regular maintenance and repairs, you can help prevent accidents and injuries from happening in the first place. This also reduces your chances of facing a lawsuit if something does happen and a tenant gets injured.
Schedule regular property inspections so that you can identify and fix any potential safety hazards before they become a problem. Tell tenants that they should report any maintenance issues to you right away. Don’t forget to document everything! Doing so will help protect you if there’s ever a dispute.
Make sure that your property is up to code. This includes investing in working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, adequate lighting in common areas, and well-maintained stairwells and railings.
Install Security Devices
Rarely do residential properties come with security devices installed. To increase safety, you should consider installing some basic security devices. This might include deadbolts on all exterior doors, window locks, and a security system.
If you decide to install a security system, invest in one monitored by a professional security company. This is primarily a great investment if you live far away from your rental property.
You can also consider investing in virtual security devices. This might include things like a video doorbell or an internet-connected security camera. These can help deter crime and give you extra peace of mind when you’re unable to be at the property. They can also increase your tenant’s confidence in your abilities to keep them safe and make your rental a more desirable place to live for future applicants.
Another area of focus when it comes to increasing safety in your rental property is fire safety. Reports state that there were, on average, 368,500 residential building fires in the United States annually from 2017 to 2019. Since fire is one of the most devastating things that can happen to a property, it’s important to take the necessary steps to protect your investment.
Make sure that there are working smoke detectors in all the units and common areas of your rental property. Test them regularly and change the batteries as needed. You should also have a fire extinguisher in each unit and common area and ensure your tenants know how to use it.
Creating and practicing a fire evacuation plan with your tenants is also a good idea. This should include where to meet outside of the property and who will be responsible for calling the fire department. Having a plan in place can help ensure that everyone stays safe in the event of a fire.
Fence It Up
If you have a common outdoor area at your rental property, you should consider fencing it. This will help increase safety by deterring crime and keeping trespassers out. It can also help prevent accidents, like a child wandering off and getting lost.
When choosing a fence, make sure to pick one that’s tall enough and made of sturdy material. When it comes to material, aluminum is the go-to choice because of its durability and low-maintenance nature. You might also want to consider installing a gate with a lock. This will give you more control over who has access to the common area and when.
Let’s say your rental property has a pool, and you have tenants with kids and pets. In this case, you should definitely install a fence around the pool area. This will help keep everyone safe and prevent any accidents from happening. You have the option let the professionals install the pool or buy a DIY fence for your pool. Either way, you want to find a reputable company that supplies aluminum pool fences. Choose one with an excellent track record, offers high-quality and durable fences, and provides a lifetime warranty on the materials, paint finish, and workmanship.
Following these tips can help increase your rental property’s safety. This will make it a more desirable place to live for tenants while protecting your investment. So, take the time to assess the safety of your property and make the necessary changes to ensure that it’s as safe as possible.