In the sue-happy world in which we live, landlords and Orlando property management companies must cross their t’s and dot their i’s when it comes to rental property safety. Tenants can be quick to file a lawsuit for just about anything. That is why Specialized Property Management wants to help protect landlords, by providing them with a checklist of items inside and outside of rental properties that need to be inspected or maintained to allow for safety. Providing tenants with a safe rental home does not only assist in avoiding lawsuits, it has other benefits as well. Tenants who feel safe in a rental home are more likely to renew lease agreements. All landlords know that tenant longevity translates to more cash flow. In addition to cash flow, the maintenance tips that keep a property safe also double as a money savers in repairs. We hope that you find the following information helpful.
Inspecting the details of the inside of rental properties can be time consuming, but it is well worth the time to protect yourself as a landlord. There are many different areas of a rental property that can pose a threat to safety if maintenance and inspections are not conducted regularly by landlords or Orlando property management teams.
Perhaps the most vitally important items to inspect inside of rental properties are the smoke detectors. These are literally lifesavers and failure to have smoke detectors that work properly can end in more serious ways than just a lawsuit. Smoke detectors should be inspected every six months to ensure batteries are still working and that the detectors are still installed where they should be located. Have you ever lived in a property where every time you cooked or opened the oven, the smoke detector let off that alarming beeping sound? Unfortunately, if this is the experience your tenant is getting, chances are they are removing the smoke detector and sticking it in a drawer. Removal of smoke detectors is not only a lease violation, but it is against the law. If a tenant complains that the detector sounds more often than it should, landlords and property management Orlando teams can relocate the detector to be further away from the kitchen.
Orlando property management teams found that The National Fire Protection Association states that nearly half of all house fires occur during the months from December to February due to heating the house. Common hazards that fireplaces produce are creosote buildup, lack of airflow, damage to the structure of the fireplace, flying sparks, or home decor placed too closely to the fire. To limit the chances of your rental property going up in flames due to a fireplace, follow these guidelines:
- Have the chimney inspected and cleaned out annually
- Ensure all smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly
- Place a fire extinguisher inside of the property and tell residents where it is located
- Have a safety switch on gas fireplaces so that children do not accidentally turn on the fireplace
Kitchen Fire Safety
Cooking is “the number one cause of house fires and fire injuries” according to the NFPA. Clearly state in the Orlando property management lease agreement that tenants must make certain that their oven and stoves are turned to the off position when they are done cooking. Ranges or cooktops account for 62% of home cooking fire incidents. In addition to turning off cooking appliances, residents must not leave cooking equipment or candles unattended. Residents need to keep track of where candles are lit and blow them out before leaving the house or going to bed.
Even when taking precautions, unfortunate incidents can occur where a fire does break out within a house. As a landlord, plan and map an escape route for your tenants and display it somewhere inside the house where it can be visible. If the property is multi-level, inform residents how to escape by staying low to the ground, covering their nose and mouth, and reminding them to “stop, drop, and roll” if their clothing catches fire. If you are unsure of the proper escape route in the event of a fire, let the experts at Specialized Orlando Property Management assist you.
Unlike the risk of fires, tripping is not generally a life or death situation. However, depending on the age of a resident, it could be a serious injury. During the turnover process and before a new tenant moves in, landlords should walk the entire property checking for tripping hazards associated with flooring. See that all flooring is flush with the underlayment and subfloor. Landlords should inspect all transition strips and thresholds.
Rental Property Insurance
Home insurance for an owner occupied property is different than insurance for a rental property. Call your home insurance company and let them know that you have purchased a rental property. They can assist you in getting the proper coverage.
Curb appeal is not only for the showing phase of Orlando property management. A portion of curb appeal includes pruned bushes and shrubs and lighting. Overgrown bushes or trees provide excellent hiding spots for burglars or other criminals. Tree branches that touch the upper story of a house give burglars a makeshift ladder to enter a second story window. Tree branches that are overgrown can also pose a threat to the structure of the house in the event of a wind storm. A well-lit house provides safety in many aspects. Lighting deters burglars because passersby can easily spot a criminal trying to enter a house that is well lit. It can also serve in keeping the tenants safe. Well-lit walking pathways, porches, and stairs can assist in avoiding trips and falls when it is dark outside. If your property needs more lighting, Specialized Orlando Property Management can install light fixtures for you. Inspect hand railings to porch stairs and decks to make sure that they are properly and securely fastened.
The City of Orlando Police Department created a crime free housing page on the City’s website. It outlines steps and precautions that landlords can take to protect rental properties from criminal activity.
- Door Locks: one inch deadbolt and pin lock on all exterior doors
- Peep Holes: Front door viewer that provides a 180 degree view
- Strike Plate: 3” screws in strike plate or metal door frame
- Limit Hiding Spots: Limit areas where people can hide and increase visibility
Prior to purchasing a rental property, be aware of criminal stats where you are looking to buy. NeighborhoodScout provides a detailed map of neighborhoods and what types of crimes are most common in which neighborhoods of Orlando. Property Management teams know that doing your homework on criminal activity in neighborhoods can pay off in the long run. Safe neighborhoods are less likely to have crime and tend to have tenant longevity. If a neighborhood does have higher crime statistics than other surrounding areas, landlords may want to add more security measures, in addition to the ones listed above. However, it is not only outside criminal sources that landlords must be aware of when a property is occupied. Landlords should have a provision in the lease agreement that prohibits criminal activities of the tenants, including drug dealing. Criminal activity on the premises can be grounds for an eviction.
What Tenants Can Do to Stay Safe in a Rental Property
Rental property safety is not solely the responsibility of a landlord or Orlando property management company. Tenants must take responsibility too. Some of the ways that tenants can stay safe if by viewing the rental property in person. Walking a property and even the neighborhood can give prospective tenants an idea of what daily life would be like in the rental property and if they feel comfortable there. During an in-person walk through, tenants can look for smoke detectors, updated electrical sockets, and age of the appliances. Renters can also purchase Renter’s Insurance. Many property management Orlando companies even require renter’s insurance to remove liability. It also provides more coverage for the tenant in the event of an incident. Rental insurance is generally very affordable and protects tenants in the event that their personal belongings are damaged or stolen. The most common way that tenants can stay safe in a rental property is to lock doors and windows.
Protect Yourself With Specialized Property Management Orlando
Having a safe place to call home is important to tenants and their families. That is why Specialized Property Management in Orlando makes it a top priority. The majority of lawsuits filed against landlords and property management companies start by negligence. At Specialized Property Management, we have a detailed process that makes certain that nothing falls through the cracks or gets overlooked. Landlords can expect to save time and money by hiring us to conduct routine safety inspections, educate tenants on how they can stay safe in a home, and keep criminals away. Contact us today to learn more about how Specialized Orlando Property Management can keep your property and your tenants safe.