Everyone knows that investing in rental property is a smart move. But what happens after you’re invested? The smartest thing you can do to ensure that you get a good return on investment is to keep your property safe. Following the general safety tips below during the winter months and into the rest of the year will keep your property looking and working great, keep your tenants safe, and save you money in repairs and maintenance. You’ll also learn how taking advantage of the services provided by Specialized Fort Worth property management can make your job as a property owner much easier.
Make sure that you are checking your smoke detectors often. If you can’t remember the last time you checked them, and even if your property is brand new, test your smoke detectors today to make sure they’re still in good condition and then make a note to check them again around the same time each month. The National Fire Protection Association recommends replacing your smoke alarm batteries as needed and changing the alarm out about every ten years to keep them in peak condition. The best place to install your smoke detectors is outside of bedrooms to prevent fires. Specialized property management Fort Worth can help educate your tenants on how old your smoke detectors are and encourage them to test the alarms and change out the batteries as needed.
Kitchen Fire Safety
Amidst the hustle and bustle of cooking for the holidays, it can be extremely easy for fires to start in the kitchen during the months of November and December. In fact, cooking is “the number one cause of home fires and fire injuries”. The following statistics are according to the NFPA website from 2010-2014:
- Cooking equipment was the number one cause of home fires and fire injuries, causing 46% of home fires that resulted in 19% of the home fire deaths and 44% of the injuries.
- Two-thirds (66%) of home cooking fires started with the ignition of food or other cooking materials.
- Clothing was the item first ignited in less than 1% of these fires, but clothing ignitions led to 18% of home cooking equipment fire deaths.
- Ranges or cooktops accounted for the majority (62%) of home cooking fire incidents.
- Unattended equipment was a factor in one-third (33%) of reported home cooking fires and half (49%) of the associated deaths.
- Frying dominates the cooking fire problem.
If you’re worried about your kitchen, ask someone from our team at Specialized property management Fort Worth to take an inventory of your kitchen and make it as safe and fire-proof as possible. Make sure you have an easily accessible fire extinguisher on every level of your home, and especially in your kitchen. Keep your kitchen and home safe by always keeping a close eye on what your cooking in the kitchen, even if it means asking someone else to watch the oven while you take a break. Never leave the stove top unattended or leave your home while the oven is on.
The 2nd most common cause of fires are sweet smelling holiday candles. It’s ok to have them, just make sure that you are aware of which candles are lit and where they are in your home. Don’t leave the house or go to bed without blowing the candles out. If you are worried about forgetting, Fort Worth property management companies suggest getting a candle warmer or a scented plug-in that doesn’t involve any flames.
Preventing fires is the smartest plan of action, but knowing what to do if a fire does happen is the next best thing. Take the time to sit down and create an escape route for your rental property and then have it displayed somewhere easy for tenants to see inside the property. If you don’t have time or aren’t sure how to educate your tenants on the details of an escape route, let Specialized Fort Worth property management do it for you. If you own a multi-level home, we’ll make sure that your tenants have a plan in place to efficiently move to the lower level because fire rises as it spreads. Everyone should be aware of basic fire safety rules when experiencing a fire, such as calling 911, leaving valuables behind, covering your nose, staying low to the ground, enacting “stop, drop, and roll” if fire catches on your clothing, and having a predetermined meeting place for everyone to go to once they get safely out of the house.
Another very common cause of destructive house fires during the winter months are caused by heating sources of fireplaces. According to the National Fire Protection Association, nearly half of all home fires occur in the months of December-February and common problems that can lead to fireplace fires are creosote buildup, lack of airflow, damage to the structure of the fireplace, flying sparks, or home decor near the fire. In order to keep your property as safe as possible and protect it from fireplace hazards, follow the following tips and enlist help from Specialized Fort Worth property management if needed:
- Have the chimney inspected on an annual basis to ensure there is no creosote buildup. If the fireplace is a gas unit, don’t skip the inspection.
- Change all smoke alarm batteries and ensure carbon monoxide detectors are in proper working order.
- Have a fire extinguisher located at the property, and make sure that tenants know where it is located and how to use it.
- Install safety features near the wall switch of gas fireplaces so that children can not accidentally turn it on.
Take an inventory every month of the outside of your rental unit to check for safety issues. Overgrown bushes can be considered a safety issue because unwanted animals and burglars can easily hide there. Keep your property safe by pruning overgrown shrubs and making the landscape look clean. At Specialized property management Fort Worth, we can install outdoor lighting for you. Not only will they keep your property safe, but they will also help light the path for tenants when they come home late at night, protecting them from trips and falls. If you notice any outdoor stairways that need repairs, try to get that fixed as soon as possible. Rain gutters and drains should be cleared so that they can function properly and exposed electrical wires should be hidden.
Keeping the inside of your home safe is equally as important as protecting the outside. When tenants move out, make sure to get new locks and keys before the new tenants move in. Keep the batteries up to date inside the home for smoke, carbon monoxide and radon detectors. Security systems can be installed by a Fort Worth property management company, and those can be linked directly to local police and fire departments. It can help keep your tenants and property even safer by having a list of all local emergency agencies or neighborhood watch groups somewhere visible in the home.
Regularly checking on your home and performing preventative safety inspections and routine maintenance does cost money, but is always easier and more affordable than large repairs because of neglect. Keeping your property and tenants safe is not just about getting a great return on investment, it’s also about fulfilling your legal responsibilities as a property owner. Protect yourself, your property, and your tenants by doing the following and asking Specialized property management Fort Worth for assistance where needed:
- Getting Good Insurance – It’s pertinent that you have good insurance policies that cover your rental properties; otherwise you may find yourself losing money with these properties in the event of an accident.
- Requiring Renters Insurance – If you’re really serious about lowering your risks, then you should require that the tenants of your homes for rent purchase renter’s insurance. Renters insurance is very inexpensive and it provides more coverage for the tenant in the event of an incident. Since tenants can make claims on their renters insurance if something happens to their rental and/or possessions, then you won’t have to worry as much about being held liable for the damage.
- Taking Care of All Hazards – The majority of cases filed against rental property owners, generally have to do with negligence either by the owner himself or his property manager. To ensure this doesn’t happen to you, make sure that regular inspections are done with each property you own and that all hazards are taken care of immediately.
Keeping your property safe and our customers happy are our top priorities at Specialized Fort Worth property management. We can help save you time and money each month when it’s time to perform safety inspections and test smoke detectors by doing it for you. We’ll even help educate your tenants on basic fire safety precautions and how to create an effective escape route. With our services, you have access to greater peace of mind knowing that your property is in good hands and your tenants are safe, meaning your investment is safe as well. Contact us today to learn more about how Specialized Fort Worth property management can take the best care of your property.