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Rental Safety Standards to Minimize Risk

Ramsey County Tenant Climbing Dangerously Icy Steps in WinterAs a Ramsey County rental property owner, guaranteeing that your property meets appropriate rental safety standards is an important responsibility. Although some standards may differ from state to state, rental property owners should adhere to a couple of standards. According to the National Center for Healthy Housing, housing codes are designed to set a minimum standard for landlords and tenants. Instead of an irritant, these standards can be a helpful guide as you prepare your rental home for quality tenants. By bringing your property up to par on the following six things, you can definitely protect your tenants and your property values – not to mention your bank account.

Stairs and Railings

Slips and falls are a common concern and can eventually cause your tenant and their visitors’ physical injury. Minimize risk by keeping all stairs and railings on the property in good condition. Replace and refinish wooden stairs regularly, and clear concrete stairs of debris, ice, and other hazards. It’s also a wise move to paint stairs with a non-slip coating to prevent them from getting slippery in wet weather. Railings should be at least 42 inches high and should not move or wobble easily. Make sure to replace missing railings and tighten loose fasteners as soon as you notice a problem.

Smoke Detectors

In many states, landlords are required by law to include functional smoke detectors in their rental property. Even if it isn’t required by law, it’s an important safety measure that all landlords should observe. Check your smoke alarms annually and replace weak or dead batteries immediately. It is also essential to check if your state requires carbon monoxide detectors along with smoke detectors – some do. Both types of sensors can keep your tenants safe in the event of an emergency.

Doors and Locks

Security is another one of those basic rental safety standards that all landlords should meet. At least, your tenant needs well-fitting, good-quality exterior doors complete with both a locking lockset and a deadbolt in each one. The locks need to be changed between tenants, and your tenant supplied with a set of the new keys. If your rental is in an area with high crime rates, you might also think about adding a security system. Even if you don’t, you can help enhance your tenant’s safety and discourage would-be burglars with quality doors and locks.

GFI Outlets

Ground Fault Interrupting outlets (GFIs) have been required since 1971. However, if your Ramsey County rental house is older than that, you may need to upgrade your electrical outlets. GFIs help prevent electric shocks and fires. When properly wired, these outlets have a circuit that will trip in the event of an electrical surge or a ground fault. Generally, electrical outlets close to a water source, normally spotted in the kitchen, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and the exterior, should be GFI outlets.

Lead Paint

Another risk factor, especially in older rental homes, is the presence of lead-based paint. Before 1978, many homes used this type of paint for interior elements. Paint on wooden window sills, railings, and even walls can flake off, spreading toxic metals everywhere the property. Lead is hazardous to small kids and animals. To know if your rental has lead-based paint or not, have it tested. If you find lead in your paint, contact an expert knowledgeable in lead paint removal. You must also disclose the presence of lead paint to your tenants.

Pest Infestations

One more rental safety standard you should pay attention to is the presence of pests. From mice and rats to insects, pests of all sorts are both a nuisance and a disease carrier. Your responsibility is to check if your rental home is free of pests before leasing it. But if the pests return, even if your tenants are not keeping the property clean, it is still your responsibility to get rid of the pests. The ideal way to identify if your property is pest-free is to have a contract with a local pest control company to service your property on a schedule.

By ensuring that your property implements these basic safety standards, you significantly reduce your risk of expensive lawsuits and other hassles. But keeping a property up to code can require both time and effort. If you would rather spend your time pursuing other interests, consider hiring Real Property Management Viking to handle the property maintenance for you. Our Ramsey County property managers have experience in rental safety standards and know what to do to protect your tenants and property value. Contact us online or call us at 612-442-8850.

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