Written by Sally Norton for Vogue Real Estate Australia
Fire emergencies are among the most common accidents that can happen in a home. They are often unpredictable yet can have devastating consequences for the property and not to mention its residents. If you are a landlord invested in the entire rental process, then it’s only natural that you will fret about your property that is in someone else’s hands. The good news is that you are directly involved in what happens inside of your rental property, especially when it comes to something like a fire hazard. There are some fire safety tips for landlords that could help prevent potential accidents in the future and ensure a greater safety level at home. That being said, you ought to make it your task to remember them the next time you let new tenants in your precious property.
Top five fire safety tips for landlords to remember
Do bear in mind that there are many different security measures one could take to protect your property from fire-related emergencies. Truth be told, nothing serves as a complete guarantee that you will be able to prevent a fire. Still, you can significantly reduce the chances of anything wrong happening by paying close attention to the following pieces of advice.
Get acquainted with the biggest fire hazards at home
Before you can learn how to prevent fire, you need to understand what most commonly causes these accidents. As of right now, five causes are the usual culprits whenever a house fire does happen, and they include candles, smoking, electrical, heating, and cooking. As a landlord, your job is to arm yourself with the necessary facts about the topic so that you can pass down your knowledge to your tenants. Besides, this might be something a tenant will ask you about, and you don’t want to be caught blindsided.
Install smoke detectors in every room
You never know where a fire might be coming from. Your tenant could leave a lit candle in the bathroom where a fire could easily originate. So, every level of your home must have an installed smoke alarm. It will serve as a warning sign to everyone inside the property, after which the residents can quickly evacuate the building.
Instruct your tenants how to behave
Even in urban areas, it’s imperative to raise awareness about fires in Australia. The best way to do that is to talk to the tenants about how to behave if a fire breaks out. Many people panic and don’t know how to react adequately in times of stress. Therefore, it’s your job to instruct them what to do in case of such an emergency.
First and foremost, make sure they know which phone number to call in this situation. It’s a good idea to leave a list of emergency numbers somewhere in the apartment where tenants can easily find it. In case of fire, tell tenants to call 000 from any phone they have nearby – landline or mobile. It’s completely free. Let them know that the only thing they need to tell the operator is the word “fire.” Then, they should stay calm and answer the questions the operator asks.
Here is an important note if you are renting to people who don’t speak English. When they call 000, they should just tell the operator which language they speak and wait for further instructions.
Tell your tenants the best way to go out if there is fire
While it’s possible to put out small fires on your own, anything classified as a bigger fire entails the complete evacuation of renters. It is the worst scenario of all – but it happens nonetheless. And when it does happen, it’s good to have a plan of how to get out in advance. As a landlord, you can take it upon yourself to inform the tenants about the best way to leave their homes.
It’s necessary to tell your renters that they should never block any doorways or windows. You should also make sure that all doors and windows open properly, without jams. This is especially important in older buildings where doors and windows sometimes get stuck. Also, tell the tenants that it’s a good idea to keep their keys and other essential items, such as phones or documents, in a designated space. This way, if they have to leave in a hurry, they know exactly where to find them and call emergency services.
Bear in mind that not everyone thinks and acts the same in the case of an emergency. When push comes to shove, everyone needs to memorize how to stay safe and minimize the worst-case scenario risks. You will help by remembering to talk about this when the renters first come to your property.
Remove all the potential sources of the problem
We have already stated that, sometimes, there is no way to stop a fire. However, there are many things you could do to minimize the chances of anything terrible happening. Does your property have any old electrical items that are a ticking time bomb? Then invest in modern replacement that won’t be a fire hazard. Do you have plenty of unnecessary things filling up your property? Then find a solution nearby in the form of a storage unit. Too many items in a home are always a hazard in more ways than one. It’s safe to say that you can’t predict and prevent every problem. But if you manage to remove just one obstacle, you can consider that a success.
The bottom line
A lot of weight indeed lies on your shoulders. Landlords face many problems, making their job more difficult and complicated. But it doesn’t matter how difficult you find it – paying attention to the essential fire safety tips for landlords is a must. You have to make sure your tenants have all the necessary tools at their disposal, such as fire alarms and extinguishers. Moreover, you need to rent out a property that is in perfect shape and isn’t a hazard itself. You must admit that all the work and stress pay off when you get that extra income every month.