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Safety tips for rental property owners and managers

Owners and managers are required to provide safe and healthy conditions for their tenants. That includes keeping tenants safe from physical harm, and providing a property that does not negatively affect a tenants health. Safety checks will help you address risk issues before they cause additional property damage or hurt a tenant.

This is not only is it a good idea, but it is the law.

Regular interior and exterior inspections of your property will help keep your tenants safe and prevent further property damage by identifying small problems before they become expensive repairs.

Interior Checklist Doors – Both interior and exterior doors need to open and close properly. Lighting – Turn every light switch on and off to check for proper operation. Electric – Check all wall outlets to make sure they work appropriately and that the cover panels are secure and not scorched. Ceilings – Look for any water stains, cracks or sags in the ceiling that could be an indication of a water leak or damaged roof that needs to be addressed. Walls – Check all the base of walls and look for any cracks or holes that could let vermin or other pests find a home in the walls.

Flooring – Sloping floors can indicate structural damage or foundation problems and should be repaired or replaced immediately. Fireplace – A good old fashion chimney sweep will remove any debris that has built up during the fireplace’s warm weather hiatus.

Mechanical Checklist Smoke & CO Alarms – You should make it a habit to double check smoke and CO alarms for proper operation every time you inspected the property or perform routine maintenance. HVAC – Have your heating system inspected, serviced and cleaned at least once a year. Washer/Dryer – Lint and debris can build up over time in dryer vents, which can damage the appliance and even cause fires. Stove/Oven – Make sure each heating element works properly if electric and that gas lines are clear and burners ignite appropriately for gas stoves. Refrigerator – Make sure the refrigerator maintains an appropriate and accurate temperature to keep food safely stored. Water Heater – Check the temperature to make sure it set below 120° F to prevent scalding. Test safety relief valve once a year to ensure proper operation and flush the system to remove sediment buildup which can cause system failure. Plumbing – Check water supply and pressure on all sinks, tubs and showers. Flush all toilets to make sure it drains and refills properly without leaking any water.

Exterior Checklist Walkways & Stairs – Make sure all railings are secure and anti-slip or caution guards are in place. Lighting – Ensure you provide good exterior lighting at every front door and around the property to improve visibility and deter criminal activity. Lawn – Trim bushes and exterior plants to reduce possible hiding spots for criminals. Windows- Make sure all the windows close securely and have working locks. Consider installing window pins to keep windows from opening too wide. Roof - Check for missing or loose shingles. Due to the importance of your roof, have a licensed, certified roofing professional check the condition of your roof.

Schedule regular safety inspections at least once a year, and give your tenants an easy way to submit maintenance requests to you so you can address health and safety concerns immediately. Respond to maintenance request quickly to prevent costly repairs. Make sure to keep excellent records of your safety inspections in a reliable property management software. Include notes with dates and pictures to help you keep track of the condition of your property, and can also serve as legal documents if anything happens to your property.

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