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Make Your Rental Property More Fire Safe With These Tips

Patrick H. Page - Friday, September 8, 2023

An average of 340,000 homes in the United States experience fires each year, and thousands of people die in fires annually.

When you have an income property, you need to be sure it’s as safe as possible from a potential fire to protect both your tenants and your investment.

So what can you do to ensure proper fire safety at your investment property? Fortunately, there are a few simple steps you can take to make your rental more fire safe.

Know the Most Common Causes of House Fires (and Update Your Lease Accordingly)

Cooking appliances are one of the most common causes of home fires, along with candles, electrical sources, smoking, and heating elements. Once you understand the most common causes of fires in a home, you can take steps to reduce the risk.

Cooking appliances. All appliances should be used properly and never be left unattended while in use, so include this information in your lease.

Heating elements. Have the property’s heating elements (and any chimneys) inspected at least once a year to ensure they are running properly and not posing fire hazards. If your property has space heaters or you allow tenants to use them, instruct tenants to place them at least three feet from any flammable source.

Electrical sources. Ensure your rental property’s electrical wiring is up to code by getting an inspection from a licensed electrician to identify problematic outlets or wiring.

Smoking. Advise tenants not to smoke in the home and, if they do smoke, to do so outside and to properly put out any smoking devices.

Candles. Include a clause in your lease that tenants must always supervise candles while burning and never burn a candle near other items that could catch fire, such as curtains.

Have the Proper Number of Smoke Detectors

Every state has different laws on how many smoke detectors a dwelling must have. In Virginia, a residence must have a smoke detector in each bedroom and on every level in the home, including the basement.

Landlords are required to provide tenants with a written report stating that all smoke detectors in the home are in good working order. At Circle Property Management, we have all our properties inspected by Stop Loss, a company made up of retired and active firefighters that inspect for fire safety and issue the report on the smoke detectors in the property.

Create a Fire Escape Plan for Each Unit

Whether your rental property is a single-family home or a multi-family building, it’s essential to have a fire escape plan. You can create a plan for each unit and keep it somewhere visible, such as on the fridge.

You can also provide each tenant with a copy of the fire escape plan or send it to them digitally. The escape plan should clearly indicate the exits and the fastest path to the outside, as well as alternate routes if that one should be blocked.

Instruct tenants not to prop open doors or use the elevator in the event of a fire. Instead, instruct them to call the fire department immediately and get outside as soon as possible.

Make Rental Safety a Priority With Circle Property Management

You can prioritize safety by working with a professional property manager who will inspect all the elements of your unit to ensure it is fire safe. Contact Circle Property Management to learn how we can help you improve the fire safety of your Northern Virginia investment property today at (703) 349-0144.

About The Author

Patrick H. Page - Principal Broker | Licensed in Virginia and the District of Columbia