Essential Fire Safety Tips For Landlords
By Cassandra Small
On average, seven people die each day
in U.S. home fires, the National Fire Protection Association reveals. As a property manager or landlord, keeping your tenants and property safe from fire is one of the most important responsibilities you have. Unattended ovens or cook-tops, smoking, portable space heaters, and electrical faults are the most common causes of house fires. Not only do property fires cause thousands of dollars worth of damage, they also endanger lives. Here are some essential safety tips to help landlords prevent fires
on your rental property.
Smoke Detectors and Fire Alarms
Check your state laws to make sure you have the correct number of smoke detectors and fire alarms installed throughout your property. You should also regularly check they're working during property inspections. Tenants may leave batteries unchanged or remove them altogether. Fire alarms should be replaced every ten years. You should also include fire extinguishers in every kitchen. Prohibiting grilling on balconies and smoking inside the property reduces risk of fire
. Additionally, requiring tenants to report electrical problems will mean you can investigate and repair potential hazards early-on.
Fire Escape Route
Landlords should discuss fire escape routes with their tenants, display fire escape maps in each unit, and hold fire drills annually so residents are prepared in case of emergency
. Every room should have two ways out via doors or windows. It's also important to ensure escape routes are wheelchair accessible
. Consider installing a "stair chair" which can maneuver down stairs as an alternative to elevators. Make sure the disabled tenant knows how to use the chair. Keep hallways and lobbies well-lit, so tenants can maintain visibility in smoky conditions.
In every state, it's down to the tenant to get renters insurance to cover the loss of personal property damage and relocation fees. They aren't covered under the building's insurance policy. You can mandate tenants have renters insurance in the lease agreement (it costs roughly $250-$300 per year). You may also want to consider including a clause that holds tenants responsible for paying deductibles if they're responsible for a fire.
It's never too late to get these essential fire safety precautions in place. While there's no guarantee you'll never have a fire on your property, you can certainly lower the risk. Safety measures require a small investment in time and money, but they prevent property damage and save lives.
Cassandra Small is a writer in the United Kingdom