California tops the list of states with the highest number of rental units. It comes in second only to the District of Columbia in terms of the percentage of the population staying in rental properties.
While that’s certainly impressive, with a large number of renting units and renting population also come a large number of fire hazards.
For example, unattended cooking can catch fire. Unmaintained heating equipment can overheat and start a blaze. Children playing with candles can knock these over and start a fire in the living room.
While you never expect an inferno to happen in your rental property, when you have more than ten 2-person or more households in your residential building, you can really find yourself dealing with one. That’s especially if there are no fire-safety measures or fire alarm systems in place.
As a landlord or property manager, you have a responsibility to ensure the safety not just of your property but also of your tenants. You have a legal obligation to make sure that your rental property is safe and that it follows fire safety regulations.
The question now is, how do you minimize fire hazards and keep your rental property safe from fires?
Keeping the following in mind is your first step to fire protection and prevention in your rental property.
Is a fire really something to fear?
You might be thinking that all this fire talk is just plain paranoia.
However, you should know that in thirty seconds, a small fire can turn into a blaze. Fires are naturally fast.
Another thing you should know is that apartment fires rose to 86,000 in 2020, a 15% increase from 75,000 in 2019. Fire incidents can cause serious property damage or total destruction, and injuries or loss of lives.
In short, it’s definitely not paranoia to take steps to protect your property against fires.
Now, let’s get to the things you can do.
Follow fire safety regulations and adhere to building codes.
You must ensure that your rental property strictly follows fire safety regulations. In fact, you have a legal obligation to do so. It is a sign of good faith and responsible property ownership on your part. This also shows that you are doing everything within your control to prevent fire incidents on your property and protect your tenants.
Your rental property must also strictly adhere to standards set by applicable building codes. These standards are there for a reason – to protect lives and properties.
Fire safety regulations and building codes require your rental property to have the following:
– Smoke alarms in every room
– Fire alarms
– Fire extinguishers
– Fire-escape routes
– A carbon monoxide alarm in a room with a fixed combustion appliance
Make sure to check with your local fire protection agency to ensure that your rental property fully complies with safety regulations and building codes.
Get to know the top fire hazards in homes.
As a landlord or property manager, you have to familiarize yourself with the top fire hazards in your rental property.
Cooking is the top household activity that contributes to a blaze. In San Francisco county, cooking is the number one cause of fires, accounting for 73.9% of reported fire incidents. Other causes of fire include electrical malfunction, heating, open flame and other heat sources, and smoking.
Tenants who use or operate equipment or appliances carelessly can also cause fires. The same with improperly stored flammable materials. And of course, fires can also be caused intentionally – make sure to be on guard, especially for this.
Conduct regular fire and safety checks
One of the ways to make your rental property fire-safe is by regularly conducting fire and safety checks. Make sure that smoke detectors, fire alarms, and fire extinguishers are working properly.
Fire exits should always be free from obstruction, clutter, and debris. Escape routes should be clearly marked.
Using fire-safe furniture and furnishing will also help keep your rental property safe from fire. Each unit in your rental property should have a fire blanket. To prevent fire incidents caused by smoking, designate a smoking area in your property to discourage people from smoking in rental units.
If there are structural elements in your property that need to be repaired, have them promptly attended to. If your tenants also bring to your attention repair requests, make sure to get to them right away to avoid potential fire hazards.
Include as an investment in keeping your rental property fire safe an annual fire alarm inspection cost. Sourcing out alarm inspection & maintenance services to Bay Area fire inspection experts is a good fire safety check on your rental property. Fire alarm testing should be part of regular checks on your property to make sure that these devices are working.
Come up with fire prevention and evacuation measures.
To prevent fires, you need to have a fire prevention plan in place. It is also important to have fire evacuation measures that can be followed by your tenants if a fire breaks out. Coming up with these plans and measures is part of your obligation as a landlord or property manager.
Part of your responsibility as well is to make sure that these plans and measures work. And one way of doing that is by bringing your tenants on board so that they are aware that they have a responsibility too in keeping their units, their lives, and their properties fire-safe.
Discuss with your tenants your property’s fire safety regulations and fire prevention measures. Let them know that they must adhere to your property’s fire protection policy at all times to keep everyone safe from fire.
Put an emphasis on kitchen safety given that cooking is the top cause of the fire. Encourage them to keep fire exits and routes unobstructed for quick evacuation when needed. Relay to your tenants about your regulations on general electrical use such as not overloading outlets.
Keep an open-door policy when it comes to reporting fire hazards on your property. When tenants feel free to bring their concerns about their rental’s heating or fire safety to your attention, chances are that a fire incident has already been prevented. While it is your primary responsibility as landlord or property manager to keep the property fire safe, your tenants are your partners in making this happen.
Douse fire risks before they burst into flames!
Keeping your rental property fire safe is a huge responsibility. As a landlord or property manager, you want to prevent loss of lives or injuries to your tenants and damage and destruction of your rental property.
Bring on board a California fire inspection company to help keep your rental property fire-safe. Fire Alarm Testing Inc. specializes in fire inspection in the Bay Area. Included in the services we offer are fire alarm testing, monitoring, and maintenance.
We offer reasonable fire alarm inspection costs as well as other fire safety services with the latest equipment and well-trained technicians. We’re proud to serve and take care of each of our customers with passion and care. That’s because we take the issue of fire and life safety very seriously.
Contact us today and let’s get started!