Safety Mistakes That All Rental Property Owners Should Avoid

It’s only natural for landlords to protect their respective properties. After all, failing to properly secure a rental property can result in low returns, diminished renter retention rates and possible legal trouble. However, despite a genuine desire to keep properties – and renters – safe, many landlords make a variety of shortsighted blunders that only serve to make things worse. New rental property owners looking to prioritize safety all around are urged to avoid the following mistakes.

Failing to Take Preventative Measures Against Fire 

Fire is among the foremost threats to rental properties – and indeed properties in general. Even a relatively small fire can grow into an enormous blaze within a very short span of time if it isn’t properly addressed. As such, every rental property owner should make fire prevention one of their top priorities. Failure to do so can result in massive damage to your property – if not the outright destruction of it – and place tenants in serious peril.

In the interest of minimizing the threat posed by fire, make sure that smoke detectors, fire alarms and fire extinguishers are installed throughout your property and are present in every unit. Additionally, all residents should have ready access to fire escapes. 

Additionally, to show that you’re serious about combating this threat, make a point of having your property regularly inspected for fire safety. This measure is particularly important in municipalities that make use of cutting-edge fire inspection software.    

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Taking on High-Risk Tenants 

It’s only natural for landlords to want every unit in a property to be occupied. After all, any unit without residents is a unit that isn’t generating income. Still, no matter how desperate you are to fill an empty unit, it’s generally a good idea to avoid taking on high-risk tenants. For example, if you take on a renter with a history of destructive behavior, you’ll have no one but yourself to blame in the event of property damage.

So, regardless of how much trust you have in your instincts, make sure to thoroughly screen every potential tenant who submits a rental application. To minimize your chances of taking on tenants who are unable to afford rent, you’ll need to confirm each applicant’s income situation and have a look at their respective credit histories. Additionally, if an applicant has lived in rental properties in the past, take some time to consider their reasons for leaving. For instance, if someone was evicted from a previous residence for property damage or other destructive tendencies, this may be a red flag. 

You’ll also need to look into an applicant’s criminal background – provided they have one – as this may give you some insight into the type of behavior you can expect from them. Should you discover that an applicant was convicted of a crime that could present a serious danger to their fellow renters or the property itself, it may be a good idea to take a pass on them. If you’re not keen on carrying out the screening process on your own, consider delegating the task to a dependable screening service. 

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Not Taking Tenant Complaints Seriously 

Some property owners have a tendency to shrug off tenant complaints, especially if they involve other tenants. While not wanting to become entangled in a conflict is certainly understandable, addressing complaints from renters is among your most important responsibilities as a landlord. For example, if you receive a report of a tenant engaging in threatening, destructive or outright violent behavior, waiting to act – or simply ignoring the complaint altogether – can result in harm to the property, the tenant in question or other renters. 

Depending on how concerning a complaint is, you may even need to get law enforcement involved. Additionally, if a tenant ever threatens you, avoid responding in kind. Instead, contact the police, especially if you feel that they’re genuinely in danger.  

For a landlord, there is absolutely no advantage to regarding safety as an afterthought. Not only can a lackadaisical approach to safety pose a serious threat to your property, it also stands to place you tenants in harm’s way. As such, failing to prioritize safety can result in a host of undesirable consequences, including withheld rent, broken leases and costly lawsuits. Fortunately, you can avoid all of these headaches by making safety one of your top priorities and avoiding the blunders discussed above. 

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