Keeping your residents and your property safe is an important task for every landlord. You can’t assume people know the basic steps for home safety, so it’s essential that you educate them. Here are some steps to take to protect both you and your tenant from various situations.
Require Renter’s Insurance
Having renter’s insurance won’t prevent issues from occurring, but it will help take care of expenses should they happen. For instance, if your tenant causes a fire that damages both their unit and others, insurance coverage can pay for the expenses. It also helps tenants be more aware of steps they can take to be safer if they’re paying for coverage.
Enhance Safety in the Design
As a landlord, you can take several steps to promote safety before your tenants even move in. Here are a few suggestions you can implement.
- Install deadbolts on all exterior doors.
- Install exterior lights.
- Trim hedges, especially those along the front of the property.
- Maintain all areas of the unit, such as repairing cracked windows or doors that don’t open and close properly.
- Install smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
- Ensure all windows operate properly as an emergency exit.
- Put safety covers on outlets.
- Install security cameras around the building’s perimeter.
New buildings built as rental properties must conform to codes, but older properties are often “grandfathered in” and aren’t required to meet certain standards. However, a landlord should make any reasonable changes necessary for the safety of the tenants.
Landlords should never assume that tenants know what to do in certain situations or what precautions to take. You can include basic safety information as part of orientation when the person signs the lease or moves in. Some ways to educate your new tenants, include:
- Provide a list of phone numbers for emergencies, such as on-call maintenance or an office manager, local hospital and police station.
- Make sure the tenant knows about 911 and how and when to use it.
- Include a safety sheet in the welcome packet that explains about safe living in a rental property. This may include the need to keep doors locked and park in well-lit areas after night, as well as how to maintain a unit for safe dwelling.
- Hold safety seminars if you have a number of tenants and discuss potential issues to help them prevent problems or deal with those problems properly. You might even ask guest speakers such as local law enforcement to come in and speak to the tenants.
If you have multiple properties in the same area, multi-housing units or properties in a high-crime neighborhood, you may want to consider hiring security. You have a range of options from hiring a person to be on-site full-time to hiring a company to drive by your properties periodically.
The level of security you need depends on how many properties you have and how much crime is in the area. Even part-time security or patrols can make your tenants feel safe. This also protects you from liability if something should happen to a tenant on property.
Safety is often a concern for people moving to a new area. As the landlord, you can address this concern and show tenants the steps you have taken to ensure they have a safe and happy residency in your unit.
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