As a Silver Lake rental property owner, making sure your property meets appropriate rental safety standards is an essential responsibility. Although some standards may differ from state to state or even city to city, there are some standards that each rental property owner must adhere to. According to the National Center for Healthy Housing, housing codes are established to set a minimum standard for landlords and tenants. Instead of a hassle, 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 help protect your tenants and your property values – as well as your bank account.
Stairs and Railings
Slips and falls are a common concern that can potentially cause your tenant and their visitors’ significant physical injury. Minimize risk by ensuring that all stairs and railings on the property are in good condition. Replace and refinish wooden stairs frequently, and remember to clear concrete stairs of debris, ice, and other hazards. It’s also a wise choice to paint stairs with a non-slip coating to prevent them from becoming slippery in wet weather. Railings need to be at least 42 inches high and should not move or wobble easily. Remember to replace missing railings and tighten loose fasteners the moment you notice a problem.
In several states, landlords are required by law to have functional smoke detectors in their rental property. However, even though it wasn’t necessary, 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 idea to check if your state requires carbon monoxide detectors in addition to smoke detectors – some do. Both types of sensors can help you keep your tenants safe in the event of an emergency.
Doors and Locks
Security is one of the 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 town with high crime rates, you may also start adding a security system. Even if you don’t, it can help enhance your tenant’s safety and discourage would-be burglars with quality doors and locks.
Ground Fault Interrupting outlets (GFIs) have been required since 1971. However, if your Silver Lake rental house is older than it seems, you may need to upgrade your electrical outlets. GFIs are essential as they help prevent electric shocks and fires. When appropriately wired, these outlets have a circuit that will trip in the event of an electrical surge or a ground fault. Generally, electrical outlets close to a water source, normally positioned in the kitchen, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and the exterior, should be GFI outlets.
Another serious concern with older rental homes is the presence of lead-based paint. Before 1978, lots of houses used this type of paint for interior elements. Paint on wooden window sills, railings, and even walls can flake off, spreading toxic metals throughout the house. Lead is particularly dangerous to young kids and pets. To determine if your rental has lead-based paint or not, have it tested. If you find lead in your rental property, call a specialist skilled in the removal of lead paint. You must also make the renters aware of the existence of lead paint.
One final rental safety standard that you always pay attention to is the presence of pests. From mice and rats to insects, pests of any type are both a nuisance and a disease carrier. Your responsibility is to make sure that your rental home is free of pests before leasing it. But if the pests come back, even if your tenants are not keeping the property clean, it is still your responsibility to get rid of the pests. An ideal way to check if your property is pest-free is to contact a local pest control company to service your property on a schedule.
By ensuring that your property meets these basic safety standards, you can significantly reduce your risk of expensive lawsuits and other problems. Yet, keeping a property up to code will require both time and effort. If you want to spend your time pursuing other interests, consider hiring Real Property Management Vision to handle the property maintenance for you. Our Silver Lake property managers are familiar with rental safety standards and aware of what to do to protect both your tenants and your property value. Contact us online or call us at 818-233-8789.
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.