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Rental Safety Standards to Minimize Risk

Hurricane Tenant Climbing Dangerously Icy Steps in WinterAs a Hurricane rental property owner, making certain your property meets appropriate rental safety standards is a fundamental responsibility. While some standards may vary from state to state or even city to city, there are a few standards that each rental property owner must adhere to. According to the National Center for Healthy Housing, housing codes are planned to set a minimum standard for landlords and tenants. Instead of being a problem, these standards can be a helpful guide as you prepare your rental home for quality tenants. By bringing your property up to par on the following six things, you can effectively protect your tenants and your property values – also your bank account.

Stairs and Railings

Slips and falls are a common concern and can easily cause your tenant and their visitors’ significant physical injury. Minimize risk by keeping both stairs and railings on the property in good condition. Replace and refinish wooden stairs regularly, and remember to clear concrete stairs of debris, ice, and other hazards. It’s also important to paint stairs with a non-slip coating to avoid slippery in wet weather. Railings should be at least 42 inches high and should not move or wobble instantly. Keep in mind to replace missing railings and tighten loose fasteners immediately after you notice a problem.

Smoke Detectors

In most states, landlords are required by law to get functional smoke detectors in their rental property. But even if it wasn’t necessary, it’s an important safety measure that all landlords should observe. Check your smoke alarms every year and replace weak or dead batteries immediately. It’s also an excellent idea to check if your state requires carbon monoxide detectors in addition to smoke detectors – some do. Both types of sensors can help you keep your tenants safe in the event of an emergency.

Doors and Locks

Security is included in basic rental safety standards that all landlords should meet. At a minimum, your tenant needs well-fitting, good-quality exterior doors complete with both a locking lockset and a deadbolt in each one. The locks should be changed between tenants, and your tenant supplied with a set of the new keys. If your rental is in an environment with high crime rates, you may even think about adding a security system as well. Even though you don’t, you can help enhance your tenant’s safety and discourage would-be burglars with quality doors and locks.

GFI Outlets

Ground Fault Interrupting outlets (GFIs) are required since 1971. But if your Hurricane rental house was constructed a couple of decades before that, you might need to upgrade your electrical outlets. GFIs are significant because they help prevent electric shocks and fires. When correctly wired, these outlets have a circuit that will trip in the event of an electrical surge or a ground fault. In most cases, electrical outlets close to a water source, typically located in the kitchen, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and the exterior, should be GFI outlets.

Lead Paint

One more popular issue with older rental homes is the presence of lead-based paint. Before 1978, nearly all owners used this type of paint for interior elements. Paint on wooden window sills, railings, and even walls can flake off, spreading toxic metals anywhere in the house. Lead is particularly dangerous to little kids and pets. To distinguish if your rental has lead-based paint or not, have it examined. If you notice lead in your rental property, contact a person who has a lead paint removal background. You also need to warn the renters of the presence of lead paint.

Pest Infestations

One final rental safety standard you should pay attention to is the presence of pests. From mice and rats to insects, pests of any kind are both a nuisance and a disease carrier. Your responsibility is to guarantee that your rental home is free of pests before leasing it. But if the pests return, even if your tenants are not keeping the property clean, it is still your responsibility to get rid of the pests. One way to know your property is pest-free is to contact a local pest control company to service your property on a schedule.

By allowing your property to fulfill these basic safety standards, you significantly reduce your risk of expensive lawsuits and other troubles. But keeping a property up to code can require both time and effort. If you would prefer to spend your time pursuing other interests, consider hiring Real Property Management Southern Utah to handle the property maintenance for you. Our Hurricane property managers are well-versed in rental safety standards and know what to do to protect both your tenants and your property value. Contact us online or call us at 435-673-4242.

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