Your Prince George’s County tenants have a legal right to a safe and habitable place of living when leasing from you.
And, it is probably safe to say that you too want to provide a safe and habitable place for your tenants, regardless of whether it’s the law.
But how do you know if your investment property is truly keeping your tenants safe?
Well, you could start by asking your tenants if they are experiencing any issues in the home that they would like fixed.
But what do tenants really know about home safety?
In an effort to ensure your Prince George’s County rental property is safe and secure for your tenants, follow this quick and easy inspection checklist each time you or your property manager make the rounds at your investment property.
This way, you won’t have to wonder whether your rental property is keeping your tenants safe, you will know it is.
5 Safety Hazards You Can Prevent in Your Prince George’s County Rental Property
1. Carbon Monoxide
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, tasteless, and invisible gas that is fatal within minutes to those that inhale it.
In fact, more than 500 people nationwide die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning.
That’s why in Maryland, it is required by law that a carbon monoxide detector be placed in all homes that rely on fossil fuels (e.g. wood, kerosene, gasoline, charcoal, propane, natural gas, or oil).
When inspecting your rental property both prior to a new tenant moving in, and during routine inspections throughout the lease term, pay attention to where the carbon monoxide devices are placed, test them to make sure they are working, and change out the batteries regularly to ensure they are ready to protect your tenants at all times.
And, while you’re at it, do the same for any smoke detectors in your rental property as well.
2. Criminal Activity On or Around the Premises
As a successful landlord, it is your duty to make sure your tenant feels secure from both inside and outside threats to their safety.
This is why additional security measures on the exterior of your rental property are highly appealing to prospective tenants.
Here are some things you can check during the inspection of your property that will help ease your mind from the fear that criminal activity is threatening your current tenants:
- Exterior lighting is in good working order
- All hedges, bushes, and trees are trimmed back, and are not suitable for hiding in
- Every door has a solid deadbolt for locking
- No illegal drug activity or other criminal behavior is happening on or around the property
- All doors and windows open and close properly – no sticking or looseness
- Doors are made of solid wood or steel, and shatterproof glass is installed
- Security bars are in all sliding glass doors
- Window pins are present to prevent full opening
- The home security system, complete with alarm and camera, are working properly
3. Lights and Electrical Outlets
The dangers of electrical issues cannot be understated. Not only can they directly harm anyone in your rental property, they can cause a fire that ruins the structure of your property.
Testing all lights in and around your rental property is a great way to make sure everything is safe and secure for your tenants.
For example, make sure the lights work as intended to prevent injuries resulting from lack of lighting during the night.
In addition, make sure that there is no flicker, spark, or delayed response when turning on any light inside your property.
This may indicate faulty wiring and lends itself to a major fire hazard.
While testing your property’s lighting, it is also a good idea to check out any electrical outlets throughout the property.
You will want to look for things such as broken or missing cover plates, black marks that may indicate scorching, and dangling or frayed wires.
Lastly, don’t forget to inform your tenants not to use too many appliances per outlet, in order to prevent overloading circuits and sparking a fire.
Mold is something we discuss a lot here at Bay Management Group because it presents such a serious health hazard to anyone that comes in constant contact with it.
In addition, Maryland law is strict about property owners providing a safe and habitable place of living for all tenants.
In fact, it even requires landlords to manage mold issues if they arise in a rental property after a tenant moves in (so long as it cannot be tied back to tenant negligence).
Checking areas that have the potential to encounter a lot of water is a good place to start when inspecting your property for mold issues. Pipes, wood, carpeting, ceilings and roofs, near windows, and in the insulation of your property are areas that may be susceptible to mold growth.
5. Major Appliances
Though you may not think major appliances in your rental property pose much of a threat to your tenant’s safety, they do if not properly cared for.
Think about this: when was the last time you had your property’s furnace, HVAC system, plumbing and internal electrical systems inspected?
Knowing when to maintenance these items, as well as how to fix any problems, is important to your tenant’s safety and the structure of your property.
Make sure you keep thorough records of when professionals have been by to take a look and change out any parts, just in case your tenant requests to see that your property is being well maintained.
And what about the stove, oven, refrigerator, and washer and dryer units?
Lint and dust build-up on any of these appliances pose major fire risks. This is especially true in any of the vents and tubes.
And, if your stove happens to run off of gas, it is crucial to test the lines and make sure they turn on and off properly.
If your property has a gas leak, your tenants could be in for a big, dangerous surprise the next time they light something in their home.
In the end, maintaining a safe and habitable home for your Prince George’s County tenants is a part of being in the rental property business.
It is your job to make sure that your property is safe and secure from both inside and outside threats, and that any complications are addressed quickly and efficiently, either by you or your property management company.
If you are looking to enlist the help of a Prince George’s County property management company to perform thorough move-in, move-out, and routine inspections on your rental property, contact Bay Management Group today.
We understand that the health and safety of your tenants falls on your shoulders, and can be a big responsibility. We also know that late-night maintenance calls and emergencies are not on your list of ideal things to do as a rental property owner.
So call Bay Management Group today and have us help you keep your tenants safe and secure throughout their entire lease term.