Real estate can be a lucrative business and the main reason so many investors buy properties to lease is to make a residual income. As a result, it’s altogether too easy to cut corners to widen that profit margin and sometimes this can have devasting effects. While there are some ways to reduce your expenses, there are other things you must be cognizant of. Tenant safety is something you can never scrimp on from a moral as well as a financial perspective. Let’s take a quick look at some of the key safety precautions every landlord should be aware of.
Not only should you check for existing structural damage, but you also need to be aware of any issues that could lead to structural damage. These would include:
- Broken steps or rails on stairways
- Holes in walls, floors or ceilings
- Leaking roofing systems
- Overhanging branches on the exterior
These must be addressed as quickly as possible to ensure the safety of tenants. You might be wondering how a broken gutter might be a safety concern, but if you understand its relevance within the roofing structure, you’ll quickly realize that just one gutter can cause the roof to leak. This may result in a buildup of toxic mold and you know what this means. Many landlords have been taken to court as a result of tenants suffering health issues from that mold, which could have been avoided.
Presence of Contaminants
Lead and radon gas are two of the most talked-about contaminants in today’s real estate market. When it comes to lead, all the information you need can be found on the HUD website. Did you know that properties built before 1978 probably had lead-based paint in both the interior as well as the exterior? Simply painting over it does not correct the issue and tenants can still be exposed to this contaminant.
The same holds true for drinking water in many parts of the country. Not only do many wells contain dangerous levels of lead but even municipal water may have toxic levels. Unfortunately, lead is just one of many contaminants in drinking water, but the good news is that the right filters can significantly reduce exposure, and as a landlord, that is your responsibility.
Smoke and Gas Detectors
Although each state has its own guidelines regarding smoke and gas detectors, it is safe to say that they are required in all residential properties, no matter where you live. Before renting a property, make sure that all detectors are in good repair and then specify in the lease who is responsible for their upkeep. In a private family dwelling, it is typically the tenant’s responsibility, but in multi-family or commercial properties, the landlord will usually be required to check all detectors at pre-specified intervals state by state.
As a landlord, you may want to access the resources on the Landlord Protection Agency website to keep you both informed and protected. While every state has its own rules and regulations, some things are federally legislated. Lead and radon exposure typically fall within that category. The bottom line is that it is your responsibility as a landlord to maintain basic safety precautions which will, in turn, protect you and your tenants at the very same time.