Tenants deserve to feel protected and secure in their rental units. As a landlord, it’s your job to ensure your rental properties are safe for residents.
Safety can mean several different things. The umbrella category of “safety” may include security, health, maintenance, or other concerns. Even if the risk of burglaries or crime in your neighborhood is low, you are still legally obligated to take certain precautions to protect tenants from harm.
As digital technology and architecture improve, you may find it necessary to invest in new safety features for your tenants. Other safety precautions can be accomplished simply by keeping up with regular inspections and maintenance repairs.
Here are five safety tips every landlord should know to protect their tenants and properties.
- Install Smart Locks
A smart lock is a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth-enabled lock. Smart locks enable users to lock or unlock doors from their mobile devices, even remotely (i.e., away from home).
Smart locks are a relatively new home technology that many landlords are beginning to incorporate into their rentals. In addition to convenient features like remote control, live monitoring, keyless entry, auto-lock, and video, smart locks also offer high-quality security to renters.
In a smart lock-enabled unit, tenants receive alerts to their mobile devices if someone attempts to break into a unit or break the lock. Smart locks can also notify the police if this occurs.
Smart locks are an excellent way to impress tenants and increase security in your rentals. They offer strong protection and peace of mind for worrisome tenants.
- Conduct Regular Inspections
Regular inspections are the most basic way to prevent accidents and risks. By identifying potential maintenance problems before they escalate, you can eliminate the risk of any dangers and minimize legal liability at the same time.
Rental inspections are most effective when conducted every three to six months, but you should do them at least once a year. During inspections, check all utilities, appliances, and amenities. You are required to maintain electricity, plumbing, appliances, and HVAC systems in good working order, so check these first. Replace air filters in AC units and furnaces to prevent buildup or failure and ask tenants about any other issues they’ve noticed.
Review the local legislation to find out exactly how much notice you are required to give tenants before an inspection. It’s usually at least 24 hours.
- Test Alarms Regularly
Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are legally mandated in every residential dwelling. If these devices aren’t working, you could risk serious damage to your tenants, properties, and your reputation as a rental housing provider.
To avoid these risks, make it a habit to regularly test all alarms – preferably during a scheduled rental inspection.
To test a smoke or carbon monoxide detector, hold down the test button. A weak sound, blinking red light, or chirping noise indicates that it’s time to replace the battery or install a new alarm.
At least once a year, check that each unit has a functioning fire extinguisher, no obvious fire hazards, and appropriate ventilation. Identify any hazards and address them as quickly as possible. If a tenant is responsible for creating a hazard, inform the tenant and issue any penalties.
- Watch for Water Damage
Water damage may initially seem like a primarily aesthetic concern. However, leaky faucets or other water/sanitation problems can also be health and safety concerns. Pipe leakages encourage mold growth, which is unsanitary and poses a threat to tenants’ long-term health.
During your regular inspections, carefully investigate spaces that frequently get wet. This includes kitchen surfaces and cabinets, bathroom crevices, faucets, tubs, and dishwashers. Identify any mold growth and learn how to treat it appropriately if you don’t hire outside help.
- Screen Tenants Thoroughly
The most significant step you can take to prioritize tenant safety is to screen tenants thoroughly. Tenant screening helps you identify unreliable, irresponsible, or otherwise unqualified tenants who might endanger themselves and others.
A criminal background check is vital for every tenant. No matter how unlikely it seems, you might find something worth investigating further. The last thing you want is violence or criminal activity in your community, especially if you rent to families with children and pets.
Remember that you can streamline the tenant screening process with cloud-based property management software. Most platforms partner with screening services to offer a centralized tenant screening hub.
Protect Tenants with Safety Precautions
Safety procedures and protocols are integral to protecting your tenants from dangers and hazards. If you want to avoid accidents or messy legal entanglements, safety precautions are the first place to start. By installing smart technology, regularly inspecting, testing alarms, treating damage, and screening tenants thoroughly, you can prioritize safety and offer the best protection in your rental units.
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