New Ways Property Managers Can Keep Tenants Safe from Fire and Water Damage
Property managers play an important role in protecting tenants from fire and water damage. There are some obvious and expected ways to do this: implementing safety measures, such as installing smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, and sprinklers and overseeing regular inspections of buildings and appliances to identify any potential risks. But there are some less obvious ways to help tenants you should consider as well. The good news? They're all pretty simple and can make a big difference in keeping tenants safe and keeping property costs down. Let's start with a quick review of the obvious stuff before moving on to a few you might not have considered.
Follow Local Code
Property managers play a vital role in keeping apartment complexes up to code. This is especially important for building safety, as local codes often require certain safety measures to be implemented in order to prevent fire and water damage. You should always stay up-to-date with local code requirements, ensuring that buildings are well-maintained and inspected regularly. You should also be familiar with local fire evacuation plans and emergency procedures, so you can quickly respond in the event of an accident or disaster.
Conduct Regular Inspections
Regular inspections are essential for property managers to stay on top of any potential problems or hazards in their buildings. Regularly inspect all common areas and tenants’ units to identify any fire or water risks, and take steps to mitigate them. This could include replacing faulty wiring, checking smoke detectors, ensuring that sprinklers are functioning properly, or fixing any water leaks. It’s important that property managers also keep records of the inspections and any subsequent repairs, as this can help protect tenants in the event of an accident or disaster.
Install and Maintain Fire Detectors
Property managers should ensure that all fire detectors are installed correctly and kept in good maintenance. This includes ensuring that the detectors are placed in appropriate locations within the building and that they are regularly tested and serviced. Fire extinguishers should also be readily available in all communal areas, and the property managers should make sure that these are inspected regularly to ensure they are in good working order.
Provide Property Safety Education
This is a less obvious (and often-overlooked) approach to maintaining safe properties, but it can go a long way. Most tenants have never owned a property themselves so they are unlikely to have a good grasp of even the most basic home maintenance skills. Educating the residents on key safety approaches can be one of the best ways to keep them and the property safe. Below is a list of helpful resources we offer to property managers for free. You might consider using links to articles in emails to tenants or printing out PDFs to include in move-in packets or to post within units.
Smoke Damage vs Fire Damage (article)
What to do When There's a Kitchen Fire (article)
Cooking Safety Tips (article)
Water Damage Clean Up Tips (article)
Preventing Water Damage (article)
Maintain Good Relationships with Tenants
There are a lot of reasons to maintain good relationships with your tenants and safety is one of them. It's easier to maintain a relationship of trust if you're communicating regularly with tenants and building that trust will allow you to be more aware of potential issues before they become big problems.
Nobody has a better view of the small details of a property than the people living in the units so eliminating intimidation and keeping open communication channels is an important way to get alerted to problems early. Tenants can become your eyes and ears around the property. In addition to good old fashioned manners and kindness, you may consider some of the following approaches:
Send monthly or quarterly newsletters with news, safety tips, and special offers from local businesses
Provide easy access to emergency plans and procedures, as well as any safety measures that have been implemented in the building.
Keep a regular maintenance schedule and make sure it is clearly communicated to tenants so they can plan accordingly
Host occasional “get-togethers” such as BBQs or movie nights where you can meet with your tenants, build relationships, and help foster a sense of community.
Take Advantage of Fire and Water Monitoring Systems
One of the biggest tech advancements available to property owners today is monitoring systems that alert you to fire and water dangers in real time. Smoke alarm monitoring syncs effortlessly with your existing smoke detectors to automatically cut off power to an appliance when a smoke alarm sounds. Water monitoring provides a similar protection but is placed near appliances that use large volumes of water (like water heaters or washers) to detect leaks before they grow into a huge problem. If you're looking for an easier way to get peace of mind about all the fire and water hazards on your property then consider FireAvert Pro and WaterAvert Pro.
It shouldn't be a surprise that property managers play a vital role in protecting tenants from fire and water damage. Much of what we've covered above is expected and assumed but some of it might be new and all of it takes consistent effort. The effort is worth it if the result is more safety and less property damage.