3 Ways to keep your Seattle Rental Property safe for Tenants

Posted on May 24, 2019

When you ask people where in the world they feel most safe, they would tell you that, inside their homes is where they feel the safest. Feeling safe is a very important factor for good health and well-being. Where we live, the quality of our neighborhood, and how safe we feel in our homes can influence our state of mind. After all, home is supposed to be a safe haven, a place where we can relax, unwind, rest, and recharge.

As a rental property owner, you contribute greatly to a tenant’s sense of safety and security. Prospective tenants consider the safety of the neighborhood and the property of utmost importance, because what use is a beautiful condominium, apartment, or townhouse if it is situated in an area where crime and break-ins are common.

It is not just about the safety of the neighborhood, but also the safety of the property. Did you know that the number one reason people die in their homes is due to gases, chemical, and toxic substances? Not only is structural safety important but apparently, ventilation is important as well. Other common injuries that happen at home are falls, fires and burns, and natural incidents. Tenants want to feel that they are safe in their homes They don’t want to feel like the floors or the roofs are going to give out at any moment. They don’t want to worry about the pipes bursting or the smoke alarms failing. They want to feel safe from pest infestation or molds. That means properties need to be well maintained and in good condition. Property repairs and maintenance is a must.

Managing Seattle’s Wet Weather
Seattle has a reputation for being a “rainy city”, having more rainy days than sunny ones. It experiences its heaviest rainfall during November, December, and January. In November, Seattle particularly experiences its highest average rainfall, more than any other large US city. In fact, Seattle is one of the 5 rainiest major cities in the US. One of the challenges that most property owners face are the issues brought about by Seattle’s generally wet weather. Heavy rains can cause flooding around areas where drainage is not optimal. Heavy rains can also cause roofs to leak. Even sudden drizzles can cause damage to properties with leaky foundations and cracked pipes. The wet weather also does not help with drying out the moisture that can accumulate behind walls, attics, and basements. Mold can cause serious health issues. Landlords would have to periodically check for leaks and look for signs of water damage.

Safety Inspection and Periodic Maintenance
Properties get damaged through wear and tear or even simply old age. The older your property is, the more it requires periodic maintenance and regular safety inspections. Forces of nature, like heavy rains or storms, most common in the area, can cause damage to your property. Branches can put a hole through the roof or cracks in the windows. It is best to conduct seasonal inspections to check for damages after heavy rains or storms. Also, don’t forget to conduct moving in and moving out inspections, to ensure that tenants who are moving in are safe in your rental property. There’s more to think about than Seattle’s wet weather and how water can damage a property. There’s also the usual safety considerations like fireproofing and health and safety checks.

Here’s an example of a typical home inspection checklist, for a quick DIY home safety inspection:

● Check the batteries of smoke alarms and smoke detectors – these typically need to be replaced once or twice a year. Smoke alarms should be on every floor of the property, including the basement and attic.
● Have a fire escape plan – every tenant unit should have access to the fire escape and must know the evacuation procedure in case of fire or earthquake (very important for apartment buildings with elevators).
● Have fire extinguishers – these should be replaced once a year (check the expiration date). It is recommended to have one multipurpose fire extinguisher for every 600 square feet of living space. When using it, remember to PASS:

○ Pull the pin.
○ Aim at the base of the fire.
○ Squeeze the handle.
○ Sweep from side to side until the fire is out.

● Electrical wiring inspection – make sure that wirings or electrical cords are not frayed.
● Routinely check furnaces and/or chimneys – make sure they are not blocked or obstructed.

Property owners can also install safety features like deadbolts, gates, and security cameras in unit doors and around the property. You can encourage tenants to reinforce these safety features by having them add their own. Some features like window alarms, electronic keypads, home alarms, or even motion sensors can reinforce security in their rental homes. If the tenets have small children, encourage them to install window guards or baby gates.

A List of your Go-To Guys
As a property owner, you should have a list of your most trusted contractors, inspectors, and fix-it guys who are available for you to call on when a major storm (or any emergency) hits. You are also responsible for scheduling inspections and making plans for repairs and replacements should the need arise. You can source these yourself, most people have 2 or 3 guys they can count on for repairs. But, when it comes to specialized repairs and big repair or maintenance projects, it is best to enlist the help of professionals. This will save property owners time and money.

A property management company like Davis Property Management can help you with all the requirements you need to keep your tenants safe. We can help you set up inspections, repairs, and maintenance with our most trusted and professional team of regular contractors who are already doing an excellent job with servicing our existing clients. Not only can we help you find the perfect tenant for your property, but we can also help you move them in and help take care of maintaining your property. Schedule a consultation with us, today!