21 July 2015


10 Helpful Tips For Keeping Your Property Safe

It is the responsibility of the property owner to keep rental premises safe for tenants and employees. Regular property inspections and prompt response to tenant concerns can help to avoid dangerous situations and potential legal problems. We recommend setting up a routine maintenance schedule using a check point system. Some items will need to be checked on a frequent basis; other items require only annual examination. It is also important for your tenants to know whom they should call in case of property emergencies. After- hour repair contacts need have their contact numbers clearly posted, and know that they must respond promptly. In the advent of a criminal situation, make sure your tenants know to contact the police.

Fire Alarms
Fire alarms should be checked yearly and have fresh batteries installed. This is a good opportunity, also, to inspect the condition of the inhabited rental unit. If your property has an emergency fire escape plan, make sure that the information is posted in common areas and that your tenants are informed about the evacuation procedures. The majority of deaths in fires are caused by smoke inhalation, which can often be averted with a well thought out evacuation plan.

Make certain that all door and window locks are in working condition. If the windows do not have locks that allow them to be open and locked into place, install them. This also applies to patio doors. Make a routine check of all locks (both inside and outside the buildings, out buildings, and sheds), keypads, and swipe card systems. Change the lock codes on at minimum an annual basis. If you have any tenant lockout or adversarial situations with tenant move outs, change the locks right away. Collect all keys from other tenants who move. Repair broken locks immediately. Make sure, also, that potential break in areas such as basement windows are secured. Make certain that tenants realize the importance of keeping all lock passwords confidential.
Faulty wiring can be a health hazard, as well as a fire hazard. It is very important to walk through your property occasionally, especially after major storms, to identify any loose or exposed wires. Check interior outlets that show signs of over heating or have too many items plugged in to a single outlet. Add additional outlets as needed and replace old wiring by bringing it up to current wiring code.

One of the best deterrents to criminal activity is proper lighting. Good lighting can also prevent falls and other injuries. Hallways, trash areas, laundry rooms, recreational areas, dog playgrounds, residential pathways, parking areas, driveways, and building exteriors should all be well lighted. Burned out or flickering bulbs should be replaced immediately. Check for proper lighting at stairs, curbs, and any blind spots areas both inside and outside your buildings.

Security Alarms
Security alarms for crucial to protect main office locations. Signage that indicates that alarm systems have been installed usually discourages break-ins. Security alarms can also be installed in common areas. Video surveillance cameras offer additional security for multi-unit building hallways, at elevators, underground parking areas, and entryways.

Doors and Gates
Interior and exterior doors and gates need to be checked for secure hinges and ease of operation. Damaged doors need to be replaced. Sagging gates need to be repaired. Splintering wood or jagged metal edges need to be addressed immediately.

Physical property evaluations
Physical walk-throughs are extremely important to identity any areas of safety concerns. Check for uneven, cracked, or crumbling steps or sidewalks. Repair loose staircase bannisters. Fill all holes on the grounds that could cause someone to trip and fall. Make sure fences are secure. Look for outside low-lying areas that collect water. These can be dangerous for foot traffic, as well as breeding grounds for insects. Make certain that slippery areas with poor drainage are taken care of, especially after storms or in freezing conditions. Check your basements, water heater sheds, laundry rooms, pool facilities, downspouts, and any other moist areas for signs of mildew and mold. Make sure that there is no leakage from plumbing systems. Check the grounds for any left over building supplies, discarded furniture, or major debris and have them removed.

Check your property for signs of mouse droppings, termite damage, dangerous species of spiders, ants and other bugs inside apartment units, fire ants, rodents, and other insect infestations. Hire professional pest control specialists to deal with these situations.

Good neighbors
Encourage the residents in your community to get to know one other through property mixers and fun outdoor activities. Friendly neighbors will look out for one another and help to keep a community safe from intruders. Make sure that property management employees make a point of getting to know the residents. Encourage communication about problems and concerns.

Vicious animals
Animals that are aggressive to people or other animals need to be removed from the property immediately. Landlords can be held responsible for allowing dangerous animals on their premises, opening themselves to serious lawsuits.

Many of the issues concerning property safety can be avoided by adhering to a regular maintenance schedule. Teach your employees, especially the maintenance staff, to be vigilant about identifying unsafe conditions. Make sure they know what to look for. Encourage tenants and employees to speak up when they notice any problems. When walking prospective tenants through rental units and around the grounds, pay attention! Following these steps will lead to a safe property for your tenants, visitors, and employees.

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