1. Make sure the property you are renting out is in compliance with local housing codes
You can get this information from the building or housing department, the health department and the fire department. If your property is part of the neighborhood association, find out whether that organization provides free security checks. Remember, if you don’t act reasonably to meet local housing codes, you may be found negligent if any harm comes to your tenants.
2. Be proactive about fixing broken doors, locks and windows and keeping your property well-maintained
If you have not made the necessary repairs to a rental unit to ensure its safety and a burglar enters the premises, your renters may decide that you are liable and seek damages in court. Your best defense is to prove that you installed the locks on doors and windows, had a well-lit entrance and kept shrubs and trees pruned so no one could hide behind them.
3. Take appropriate safety measures on the inside and outside of your rental unit
Even if local housing codes don’t require it, you may want to consider putting in handrails on the stairs if they are not already there. You’re not obligated to put a handrail or nonslip tile in bathroom floors or to tack down loose carpet ends. However, anything you can do to improve safety for your tenants is well-worth thinking about.
Some other measures you might want to take include:
- installing burglar alarms and smoke detectors;
- putting a fire extinguisher in the kitchen;
- putting a peephole in your tenants’ door;
- changing locks after one renter moves out and before another one moves in; and
- installing window pins that keep windows from being opened more widely.
At Herman Boswell, we know how difficult–but also how crucial–it is to keep up with property safety issues, particularly if you’re renting multiple units in different locations. Our experts make it their business to do all the things busy landlords like you can’t, such as following up with tenants about potential security problems. When you need the help of trusted professionals to help you make the most of your real estate investments, contact us!