How to Prevent Fires as a Landlord

Being a landlord is a large responsibility and you must be prepared for everything
that can possibly come up. Still, there are some things that you simply cannot prepare
for specifically but you can work diligently to prevent them. An example of this is
knowing how to prevent fires when you are a landlord. Remember, it is important to be
prepared even for the things we never expect to come up. One of our own properties
had a fire recently. The fire was contained and no one was hurt. This is why it is
important to be prepared and know how to properly react.

Ways to Prepare

There are many things that you can do as a landlord to prepare for fires. One of
the main ways is to make sure that you are complying with local fire codes in the area in
which your property is located. There are ordinances and local fire codes that you can
read through that will help you stay legally protected while also keeping your tenants
safe. If you do not feel comfortable walking through the property on your own, you can
have a local fire inspector come do a walkthrough.

Talk to your Tenants

There are also things to discuss with your tenants when it comes to fire safety for
your property. You need to set strict house rules for all of your tenants, put them in
writing and have them verbally explained to the tenant as well. You also want to be sure
that you are constantly checking the smoke detectors in each property unit. You can
also add carbon monoxide detectors to your properties to help detect when too much
CO is detected in the home.

Plans and Rules to Establish

One of the most obvious but sometimes forgotten things to consider is to have a
fire extinguisher on each floor of the property. Fire extinguishers may not be able to take
down larger fires but can be easily used to contain small flames in controlled
environments. It is also important to have a strict, “no smoking” policy. You need to
make sure to enforce this policy in and out of the house. You also need to be sure to
follow up on any suspicious activity to show your tenants that you are serious about this
policy. Another thing you do directly for the unit itself is to establish grilling rules or ban
the use of grills all together. If you are going to allow grills, then you need to make sure
that they are being used properly. Your tenants need to know how to check propane
tanks for leaks and keep the grill a minimum of ten feet away from the unit at all times. It
should never be allowed under any circumstances to have a grill on a small patio or
under any type of overhang.

Protect in Case of Emergency

You can do everything that you need to do to prevent these scenarios and still
find yourself running into them. This is why you need to make sure that you are covered
if an incident does occur. It is important to have a clearly understood escape plan,
especially if you have a multifamily unit. You also want to be sure to review this escape
plan with your tenants so that they are sure to understand what to do and where to go in
case of a fire. You should also require your tenants to have renter’s insurance. These
policies ensure that the tenants can recover their personal items in the case of an
emergency occurring. You want to make sure that your tenants feel comfortable
reporting any issues to you that may lead to emergencies down the road. Also, when an
emergency does occur be sure to document everything that you have done to help
prevent the incident. For example, if the fire was caused by a lit cigarette and you have
a no smoking policy that has been provided to the tenant, be sure to keep those
documents.

Conclusion

As landlords, you can not expect to be ready for every single incident that may
happen. When you are on top of preventative measures you can feel rest assured that
when an emergency does occur, you and your tenant are both ready to take it on. By
clearly communicating your expectations with your tenant, executing a safety plan and
are willing to hear your tenants concerns when they arise you are creating a safe
environment that is prepared for any disaster that may occur. Stay calm, stay prepared,
stay diligent and stay documented.

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