Big headlines nationwide about the fright and destruction that fires can cause should encourage investors and renters alike to redouble our efforts to create safe environments to call 'home.'
Renters Warehouse works hard to take fire safety in rental properties seriously as a Hampton property management company. The following are just a few of the ways we find key to keeping your property and your residents safe.
Foreword: While we are THE rental experts in Hampton Roads, this blog is not legal counsel. If you need live support, get in touch with the Rent Estate™ Advisors at Renters Warehouse Hampton Roads!
Extinguishers, Smoke Alarms, and Exits
While most people know that they should have basic fire safety equipment in their Hampton rental homes, there are a few important considerations to work out with your property manager to make sure that you aren't leaving any holes in your fire preparedness and awareness system.
Fire extinguishers aren't optional, and there should be one within a few steps of any part of the rental. It can be wise, for instance, to have one in the top floor, bottom floor, and basement of a single-family residence to avoid having to go upstairs or downstairs to get to one. You also need to note the expiration date since they lose effectiveness eventually. Don't leave it up to the resident to get these; make sure they are present and in-date.
- Ensure that smoke alarms are also installed on every level of the rental property.
- It is key that your renters can hear them in any other room of the home if they go off.
- These also expire or run out of battery, so pay attention between renters so that you can keep them up to date.
Exits and Escape Plans
- Confirm that renters know the fastest and safest ways to exit their home in the event of a fire.
- Creating an escape route may seem like overkill if you've never had a fire, but it's an important piece of the puzzle.
- Everyone should know about the plan rather than leaving it to chance that someone might be trapped.
Property Documentation and Appropriate Insurance Coverage
- While many people assume they will never need to use it, creating an inventory of the items in a residence is one of the most practical choices that a person can make.
- Knowing what you have, especially when recorded with photographs and an estimated value of the item, can be a very smart way to make insurance claims in case of theft or fire.
- Not every fire can be prevented, so quickly sharing items that were affected with the insurance company is crucial.
- Renters and property owners should have the appropriate coverage with an insurance company so that, in the case of a fire, they aren't left with a major financial loss.
- Renters insurance can help to cover the contents of the residence, while property investors should shop for good liability coverage that would handle repairs to the building structure itself.
- Having the right insurance often is very affordable and can be so helpful if you are unlucky enough to have severe structural damages due to fire.
Use Best Practices in Landscaping for Fire Prevention
While we don't have to worry about it as much in our area, it's never a bad idea to follow the best principles of landscape design in preventing ground fires.
- When dry features of the landscape are close together, it's much easier for accidental fires, forest fires, or escaped fire pit fires to hop from one dry feature to another.
- By placing space between fire-prone features, you give firefighters more time to get a fire under control if the unthinkable happens.
- These choices, known as FireWise landscaping, aren't any more difficult to implement than other forms of landscaping (though you'll have to work within the constraints of the land itself if you have a small lot).
- Therefore, making these choices is a great way to encourage fire safety and give firefighters much-needed time in the event of a fire emergency.
Fire safety starts with your choice to emphasize it: when you make sure escape plans and extinguishers are front and center in the move-in process, your renters are more likely to be careful about common-sense avoidance of fire, such as carefully checking their stovetops and not plugging too many items into an outlet extension cord.
If you have the advantage of a Hampton property management team, use their expertise to reinforce these smart choices throughout the course of the lease. If you have yet to work with professional property management services, download your free copy of our guide to finding the best property manager to get started!