Inspecting your rental property will ensure that it remains in top condition and compliant with habitability standards. Safety standards are designed to check whether your investment property meets all your tenant's needs. These are required by both local and state laws and landlords must comply with them fully.
Preparing an inspection checklist makes the task easier. It also helps you be aware of the problem areas in your rental property and find ways for improvements. Here are things you should focus on while performing your property walk-through:
1. Existence of Smoke Detectors
It’s vital to check your local and state regulations when it comes to specific smoke alarm policies and the areas for their installation.
Landlords are advised to test smoke detectors annually. This is to verify if they’re still in proper working order. Inform your tenant to report if they hear any chirping noises that indicate that the batteries of the smoke alarm need replacing.
Apart from smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors are also a regular requisite for most states. You can decide to install a combination device for easier monitoring.
2. Presence of GFI Outlets
Ground Fault Interrupting (GFI) outlets are a requirement under the National Electrical Code. Installing them in various places is for everyone’s safety. Otherwise, the possibility of fires and shocks increases significantly.
There’s a chance that your insurance won’t accept a damage claim for coverage should its investigation reveal that a fire resulted from the non-installation of a GFI outlet where the law mandates it.
A more effective way of complying with this code without modifying the entire rental is to use a GFI breaker. Once it’s installed, it can protect the other outlets as well.
3. Safety of Outdoor Railings
For rental properties structured with a balcony or deck, they need to adhere to a building safety code. Railings are required to be at a minimum height of 36 to 42 inches high according to the International Building Code. It should also be able to sustain a specific shear force.
If your rental home’s railing material is made of wood, you need to perform regular inspections. Always find time to examine the safety of the bolts and the condition of the wood to prevent accidents from happening. It’s better to replace them when you spot signs of deterioration.
4. Safety of Stairways and Walkways
Keeping the stairways and walkways safe is critical. It’s easy for slips and falls to result from stairs and paths that aren’t well-maintained. Repair any damages and paint a non-slip coating on the stairs and walkways to protect the residents from accidents.
Keep an eye out for wet, slippery floors. When building or performing property upgrades, find a material that provides extra protection. You can also place carpets as an additional safety measure.
5. Security of Doors and Windows
You can never predict if or when a burglary will take place. However, you can protect against this event by strengthening the security of your home. Be sure to:
- Inspect the locks to see ensure that the bolts are solid and fixed firmly.
- Choose an exterior door that’s solid and difficult to kick down.
- Attach heavy locks and deadbolts.
- Install locks on windows.
What’s more, when changing tenants, ensure that you remember to re-key the unit. You can also use an electronic lock that requires passcodes to be allowed access.
Finally, should your budget allow it, you might consider investing in alarm systems located near doors and windows to further increase your rental’s security.
6. Presence of Pest Infestation
To prevent pest issues, landlords should schedule extermination sessions to remove their presence and perform diligent inspections to prevent them from coming back.
7. Functionality of Appliances
If you rent out a furnished rental property then tending to the maintenance of your appliances is part of your landlord obligations. You need to properly care for your washer and dryers, refrigerators, dishwashers, heaters, and air conditioning units.
Aside from the normal wear and tear that appliances go through, maintaining them well extends their life expectancy. The following are some of the things you need to remember when checking and maintain rental appliances:
- Get rid of the lint buildup trapped in your dryer
- Flush the water heater to avoid leaks
- Clean the filter of the dishwasher regularly
- Clean or replace the door seals of the refrigerator
- Clean or replace the air filters of the air conditioner
8. Existence of Lead-Based Paint
Older properties, typically constructed prior to 1978 often used lead-based paint. Due to the health hazard associated with it, landlords are often required to include a lead-based paint disclosure in the leasing agreement.
If your rental is tested for and contains lead paint, it’s crucial to fix this issue as soon as possible. Acting promptly protects your rental investment and ensures your tenants remain safe while staying in your unit.
Safety should never be compromised. Strive to follow the state and federal safety standards and you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you’ve kept your tenants away from any form of hazards.
What’s more, prioritizing their safety will make the tenants happy and continue to attract them to renew their leases. You’re also protecting the value of your investment property when you focus on meeting safety codes.