With the growing rental market, property owners all over the country find that families are stepping away from buying property, and are looking to rent instead.
In fact, according to the New York Times, every year since 2004, 770,000 new rental houses have come onto the rental market.
While not every one of those rental homes goes on to be filled by families, the chances of a family renting your Maryland rental property is continuing to increase.
And, if you’re looking to keep vacancy rates low on your property, you’ll want to make your property more appealing to families.
What is a great way to do that?
If you’re looking to rent to families, it is a good idea to childproof your Maryland income property.
And, if you’re not sure how, you’re in luck. Today we are going to look at some of the most common ways you can adapt your rental property to make it safe for children.
Helpful Ways to Childproof Your Maryland Rental Property
1. Window Treatments
Many windows in rental properties have window treatments with long cords that hang down and are used to open and close the curtains or blinds. Unfortunately, the cords often lay close to the ground, or at least within reach of a small child.
Luckily, there are some simple ways of preventing a child from ever grabbing ahold of the cord, and endangering themselves:
- Avoid using window treatments that require long cords
- Install a small hook near each window with corded curtains or blinds, where adults can hang any excess that hangs down
- Give your tenants the ok to change out the window treatments if they have small children, or plan to have visitors with children over
- Provide curtain cord covers that clip together excess cordage and retract out of any child’s reach
These are some inexpensive ways you can proactively approach the issue of long window treatment cords in your rental property that tenants with small children will appreciate.
As one of the leading causes of injury amongst children at home, it is important to consider any heights you have in your Maryland property that may be deemed a safety hazard.
For example, if your property is a two-story home with a sliding glass door leading out to a balcony, consider doing the following:
- Install pin locks near the top of the door to prevent tiny hands from sliding the door open unsupervised
- Add thick fly screens to the sliding glass door entryway, because they can often withhold the weight of a child that falls through them
- Make sure the balcony fencing is vertical to prevent a child from easily climbing up and falling over the edge
- Ensure the balcony fencing does not have enough spacing between bars that a small child could slip through
In addition, mention to your tenants that they are free to install their own personal baby gates on the stairs inside the house to prevent falls.
If your rental property has a pool, there are many ways you can make accidental drownings a non-issue for tenants with children.
- Pool Surroundings. Your investment property’s pool should have a fence with a locked door surrounding it to prevent children from trying to swim unattended. In addition, the fence should be tall enough so that small children cannot climb up and over it, and should not consist of gaps that children can easily slide through.
- Pool Alarm. An interesting feature that may entice tenants with small children is a pool alarm. Designed to alert adults when the pool water is disturbed, this feature may make parents feel safer about having their child living in a home with a pool.
- Pool Covers. Not only is covering your pool with a sturdy, hard covering going to ensure less damage from the weather and normal wear and tear, it may also help prevent children from accidentally falling in.
Having a pool as an amenity that tenants can enjoy is going to allow you to command much higher rent rates.
However, childproofing your pool is going to be even better for those that are looking for a safe place for their family to live, in addition to the fun a pool provides.
One of the easiest ways you can childproof your Maryland rental property for tenants with small children is to provide outlet covers for all electrical outlets throughout your property.
It’s cheap to do, does not affect the overall aesthetics of your property, allows for regular use of all outlets, and saves your tenants the hassle of doing it themselves.
And, while it would be easy for your tenants to childproof your property’s outlets themselves, this kind of customer service is just what high-quality tenants are seeking.
This, in turn, can lead to a more satisfying rental experience, and possibly result in more lease renewals.
5. Get the Right Insurance
Requiring your tenants to have renters insurance can significantly decrease the liability you have for bodily injuries suffered while on the premises of your property.
This will also help keep your homeowners insurance premiums lower, since payouts will typically come from the renters insurance in the case of an injury.
However, for those times that you are found to be responsible for the injury of a child (or anyone for that matter), it is wise to have enough insurance to cover your losses.
In the end, you are legally liable for providing your Maryland tenants a safe and habitable place to live. However, this does not mean you need to childproof every square inch of your property.
After all, you are not legally responsible for the well-being of your tenant’s child, beyond what your homeowners insurance requires.
That said, taking the time to provide extra precautions, and thus some childproofing strategies, throughout your rental property can have a positive effect on your potential tenant’s desire to lease from you.
If you want some help with childproofing and staging your Maryland rental property to appeal to a large tenant pool, families with small children included, enlist the help of Bay Management Group today. We know what prospective tenants are looking for when it comes to a safe rental property.
Plus, we can help with cost effective ways to appeal to families with children that will widen your tenant pool, garner you higher quality tenants that are more likely to renew, and who also appreciate the time and effort that went into your childproofing efforts.