With the holiday season officially here, it is a good time to take a look at your rental properties to ensure they are up to par on security and safety conditions. It always helps to follow expert safety tips and to conduct regular maintenance checks and remind your tenants of the important safety guidelines included in their lease agreement to make the holiday season that much more enjoyable for everyone.
Test All Safety Equipment for the Building
Whether you have a multi-unit property or rent out a single-family house, it is essential to have all the necessary safety equipment in working order in case of an accident or emergency. Some list items to keep in mind when running these safety equipment checks include:
Carbon monoxide detectors
Generators (if you have them)
It may be time to change the batteries in the detectors or replace outdated safety equipment altogether. Additionally, be sure to document what items you replaced and when, so you have an accurate record of the last time you inspected everything.
Check for Hazardous Conditions on the Property
Another way to keep your tenants and their holiday visitors safe and protect you from costly legal issues is to make sure you thoroughly inspect the rental property for any hazardous conditions that may be dangerous. For example, a single loose handrail could lead to a fall and severe injuries. Some hazards to keep an eye out for are:
Uneven or broken pavement
Leaking pipes or puddles
Sinking roof or damp walls
Broken locks, doors, or windows
Rodent or insect infestations
Other environmental toxins, including mold
In addition to your tenant’s safety, staying on top of potentially dangerous conditions can also help to prevent property damage that will require costly repairs down the road.
Inspect the Property Exterior
Winter weather ushers in hazards of all kinds. Some essential safety and security tips for landlords include examining the property’s exterior for potential threats. Remove any dead limbs or trees that could fall onto the home or cause damage.
If your rental property has a wood-burning or pellet stove, inspect and clean chimneys at least once per year. Also, keep the gutters clean and free of debris to ensure water or snowfall drains away from the roof and exterior walls. Skipping this important maintenance task leaves your investment property open for potential leaks and costly damage.
Ask Your Tenants If They Plan to Be Out of Town
Many people visit their families during the holidays, which could leave your rental property vulnerable to break-ins. To help get ahead of this, ask your tenants to let you know if they are going out of town for an extended period of time. You can keep a more vigilant eye on the property or work with a professional local property management company to ensure the building or rental home is secure.
In addition, remind your tenants to check that all doors and windows are locked before leaving. You may also want to remind your tenants to have their mail paused, or ask somebody to pick up their packages while they are away to avoid “porch pirates.”
Set Holiday Decoration Guidelines
Decorating for the holidays is a festive tradition many people take seriously. However, going overboard can pose a fire risk if not done the right way. To help avoid these hazards and to keep everybody safe, it is a good idea to set rules for how tenants can decorate the rental property.
For example, discourage the use of several electrical cords plugged into a single outlet. Also, lighting real candles that exceed a certain limit may be breaking the fire code. As the landlord and property owner, you can set clear policies for Christmas tree and outdoor light safety, including turning the lights off while not on the premises or sleeping. Remind your tenants that these guidelines are for their safety and the safety of their families and guests.
Remind Tenants of Occupancy Limits
As a landlord, it is your job to follow tenant security codes, including enforcing occupancy limits for your rental property. While holiday parties come with the season, it is important to let your tenants know that there should not be over a certain amount of individuals in the rental space at one time, including in hallways, on balconies, or in shared community spaces. It could also help to send a reminder to your tenants before the holidays, so that they can plan their holiday parties accordingly.
Prepare for Colder Weather Conditions
The holiday season generally means colder weather. Depending on where your rental property is located, you may have to make adjustments or conduct inspections in preparation for the changing temperatures. Some things you may need to do are:
Clean out the gutters to reduce potential property damage
Check that the heater and generators are working
Inform tenants about the risk of frozen pipes and how to avoid them
Remind tenants that driveways and walkways around the property can get slick
Even in Henderson and Las Vegas, temperatures can drop below freezing on some winter nights. Keep these conditions in mind and share tips with your tenants on how they can stay safe during the colder months.
Provide Your Tenants with Important Emergency Procedures
While you are conducting your inspections and sharing safety guidelines with your tenants before the holidays, it is a good idea to share essential information on what they should do and who they can contact in the case of an emergency. An emergency plan may include:
Where emergency exits are located
What to do if there is a natural disaster
Where to go if the fire alarm goes off
Important contact information
Address and directions to the closest emergency room or hospital
Limit Supplemental Appliances
When the holidays come around, it brings family and friends together for shared meals. However, this also means some tenants may go all out with appliances as they try to perfect their holiday dinner party. Turkey fryers, crock pots, hot plates, and other kitchen appliances can actually be dangerous if not used properly, creating a fire hazard and possible burn injuries. For this reason, it may be worth putting specific limitations on what can and can not be used in the kitchen.
Furthermore, consider other appliances used during colder months, including space heaters or faux fireplaces. Ask your tenants to make sure they comply with all fire code guidelines when using these appliances, and to never leave them unattended.
Work with a Professional Property Management Company
Working with a property manager has several benefits, including more streamlined communication with tenants and thorough safety inspections done by professionals. A property manager can share your safety tips with your tenants and ensure all your rules are enforced throughout the holiday season.
Overland Management team helps landlords make the most of their rental properties by offering a wide array of services, including property maintenance, tenant communication, advertising, thorough tenant screenings, collecting monthly rent payments, and enforcing policies on your behalf. To learn more about our services, contact our property management team today for a consultation!