Risk Management for Landlords
Owning a rental property can be a lucrative and profitable experience, but it does come with risks, and how you as a landlord handle those risks will ultimately determine how successful you are. This is part two of our four-part blog on risk management for landlords. In part one, you learned about insurance and after this blog we’ll talk about federal laws and not renting to the wrong people.
There is a legal obligation as a landlord to ensure you protect your tenants from obvious safety hazards. Your tenants will expect that as well. There are three areas that you need to pay attention to, and we’ll talk about them today.
You want to inspect your property for safety hazards. These could be trip hazards on the ground, loose railings or poorly lit entrances to your property. We have a safety checklist that we have developed over the years that covers all the areas that you need to keep your property safe. We’re always happy to share it, so contact us if you’d like a copy. Key areas include making sure the ground fault circuit interrupters are working in the wet areas. You will also want to check the smoke detectors and carbon monoxide sensors.
System for Reporting Hazards
It’s important for your tenants to have a way to report safety hazards 24 hours a day and seven days a week. Not everything that gets reported is going to be a safety hazard, but when you get one, you need to respond quickly. For example, if the garage door jams open on a Saturday night, your tenants not being able to close that garage does present a safety hazard if someone could use that to enter the property. You want to know about it so you can get someone out there.
If your tenants report that they are concerned about mold, have a system to respond to that. We have blogged before about how you handle mold complaints. Another example is that if your house was built prior to 1978, it may have lead based paint hazards. The Environmental Protection Agency requires you protect your tenants from these hazards, so have a system in place that allows you to maintain a house with lead based paint.
As a landlord, not only is it the right thing to do to keep your tenant safe, it also lowers your liability profile. It’s good business practice. Tenants won’t want to rent an unsafe property and you won’t be able to retain good tenants if they don’t feel like the home is safe.
If you have any questions about tenant safety, please contact us at Hoffman Realty.