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Rental Safety Standards to Minimize Risk

Eden Tenant Climbing Dangerously Icy Steps in WinterAs an Eden rental property owner, ensuring that your property meets appropriate rental safety standards is an important responsibility. Although some standards may change from state to state or even city to city, there are a couple of standards that every rental property owner should adhere to. According to the National Center for Healthy Housing, housing codes are developed to set a minimum standard for landlords and tenants. Instead of a nuisance, 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 factors, you can better protect your tenants and your property values – together with 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 making sure all stairs and railings on the property are in good condition. Replace and refinish wooden stairs habitually, and remember to clear concrete stairs of debris, ice, and other hazards. It’s also a great idea to paint stairs with a non-slip coating to prevent them from getting slippery in wet weather. Railings ought to be at least 42 inches high and should not move or wobble easily. Make sure to replace missing railings and tighten loose fasteners as soon as you notice a problem.

Smoke Detectors

In some states, landlords are required by law to include functional smoke detectors in their rental property. Yet, even if it wasn’t demanded, 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 important 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 another one of those 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 must be changed between tenants, and your tenant supplied with a set of the new keys. In case your rental is in a vicinity with high crime rates, you might also consider adding a security system. Even if 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) have been required since 1971. However, if your Eden rental house is older than that, you may need to upgrade your electrical outlets. GFIs are vital since they help prevent electric shocks and fires. When suitably wired, these outlets have a circuit that will trip in the event of an electrical surge or a ground fault. In particular, electrical outlets close to a water source, located mainly in the kitchen, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and the exterior, should be GFI outlets.

Lead Paint

Another major concern with older rental homes is the presence of lead-based paint. Before 1978, most households used this type of paint for interior elements. Paint on wooden window sills, railings, and even walls can flake off, spreading toxic metals around the home. Lead is particularly dangerous to young children and animals. To find out if your rental has lead-based paint or not, have it tested. If you find out there is lead in your rental property, contact an expert specialized in extracting lead paint. You should also indicate the presence of lead paint to your renters.

Pest Infestations

One last rental safety standard you should pay attention to is the presence of pests. From mice and rats to insects, pests of all sorts are both a nuisance and a disease carrier. Your responsibility is to make sure 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. The ideal method to figure out if your property is pest-free is to have a contract with a local pest control company to service your property on a schedule.

By ensuring your property meets these basic safety standards, you significantly reduce your risk of expensive lawsuits and other hardships.  But keeping a property up to code can require both time and effort. If you would rather spend your time pursuing other interests, consider hiring Real Property Management Magic Valley to handle the property maintenance for you. Our Eden 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 208-734-4001.

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