As a Blackfoot rental property owner, checking that your property meets appropriate rental safety standards is a vital responsibility. Although these standards may depend from state to state or even city to city, there are some standards that all rental property owners should adhere to. According to the National Center for Healthy Housing, housing codes are created to set a minimum standard for landlords and tenants. Rather than 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 items, you can effectively protect your tenants and your property values – including 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 maintaining all stairs and railings on the property in good condition. Replace and refinish wooden stairs always, and remember to clear concrete stairs of debris, ice, and other hazards. It’s also an excellent idea to paint stairs with a non-slip coating to prevent them from getting slippery in wet weather. Railings have to be at least 42 inches high and should not move or wobble quickly. Don’t forget to replace missing railings and tighten loose fasteners the minute you notice a problem.
In some states, landlords are required by law to provide functional smoke detectors in their rental property. However, although it wasn’t required, 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 a good thing to check if your state requires carbon monoxide detectors in addition to smoke detectors – others 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 should be changed between tenants, and your tenant supplied with a set of the new keys. If your rental is in a place with high crime rates, you may even consider adding a security system as well. Even if you do not choose to, you can help enhance your tenant’s safety and discourage would-be burglars with quality doors and locks.
Ground Fault Interrupting outlets (GFIs) are already required since 1971. But if your Blackfoot rental house is built earlier than that, you may need to upgrade your electrical outlets. GFIs are important because they help prevent electric shocks and fires. When correctly wired, these outlets have a circuit that will trip in the event of an electrical surge or a ground fault. Most of the time, electrical outlets close to a water source, normally located in the kitchen, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and the exterior, should be GFI outlets.
Another major issue with older rental homes is the presence of lead-based paint. Before 1978, several homeowners used this type of paint for interior elements. Paint on wooden window sills, railings, and even walls can flake off, spreading toxic metals in all areas of the house. Lead is particularly dangerous to little kids and animals. To see whether your rental has lead-based paint or not, get it inspected. If you have lead in your rental property, consult a professional who has lead paint removal expertise. You must also warn your renters against the risk of lead paint.
Another rental safety standard that you must 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 ensure that your rental home is free of pests before leasing it. But if the pests return, even though your tenants are not keeping the property clean, it is still your responsibility to get rid of the pests. The best way to see if your property is pest-free is to contact 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 further complications. But keeping a property up to code can demand both time and effort. If you would rather spend your time pursuing other interests, consider hiring Real Property Management Pocatello to handle the property maintenance for you. Our Blackfoot property managers are experts 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 208-234-1000.
We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.