How to Know if Your Rental Meets Safety Standards

How to Know if Your Rental Meets Safety Standards

As a landlord, you have a duty to keep your rental safe. It’s part of the warranty of habitability you provide to tenants. The state laws ensure that landlords are kept accountable. For self-protection, legally and financially, it’s wise to focus on meeting the safety standards for your rental properties.

Landlords who spend a good amount of time ensuring safety for the tenants reduce their overall stress. Conducting regular inspections and preventive maintenance will help you catch the early signs of damage. Doing so results in well-maintained properties and you providing more value in the long run.

Here are areas to focus on when it comes to providing safety in your rentals:

1. Heating

Check your boiler situation. Broken heaters that aren’t fixed once a tenant makes a complaint can subject a landlord to a lawsuit. It can also cause a fire, putting the tenants’ lives at risk.

Ideally, heaters should be regularly inspected. They should also be kept away from combustible resources. For any heating source in your rental unit, make sure to place a screen to minimize the risk of fire.

2. Plumbing

Plumbing issues can result in flooding, which can be an expensive property damage to deal with. Water damage wrecks furnishing, floors and the walls of a home. Because of the expensive costs associated with plumbing problems, it’s essential to conduct preventive maintenance in this area. Leaks and clogged toilets also represent inconvenience, leading a tenant not to sign a renewal lease.

plumbing issues

To address this problem, you should pay attention to gutter and drainage efficiency. Being proactive in cleaning helps resolve most plumbing dilemmas. It’s also helpful to spend more on quality pipes to reduce leaks. However, if leaks occur, make sure to address them promptly.

3. Electricity

An electrical issue can be serious, as it places your tenants’ lives at risk. Old properties tend to need upgrades to meet the current standards of the electric safety codes. As a landlord, it’s vital to hire a certified electrician that knows these safety standards.

Nowadays, GFI outlets or Ground Fault Interrupter outlets are required. If your home lacks these, install a GFI breaker to improve the safety in your rental. It will do you well to prevent electric shocks and reduce the possibility of a fire.

4. Doors and Windows

As entry and exit points, the importance of doors and windows cannot be emphasized enough. Is the door strong and sturdy? Most intruders enter a home through the door, so it makes sense to ensure that the main doors are more than adequate. Putting a good barrier from the outside ensures your tenants remain safe from unwelcome intruders.

On the other hand, when you need to get out of the rental during emergencies, it’s best that your access is easy. It would be terribly unfortunate to have broken latches or doorknobs that it would take a while to exit out of the property. Just as doors have strong hinges and frames, windows should also be sturdy. Tempered glass and solid locks must accompany windows since they’re the second entry access from outside.

5. Floorings, Walls, and Ceilings

If your target demographics are retirees or families with children, be attentive to the flooring material of the rental home. A slip can be fatal, so waterproof non-slip surfaces are recommended. Go for a foundation inspection if the floors appear to be uneven or sloping.

foundation inspection

For the walls, cracks can be signs of foundation problems. If you notice warped walls, stained walls, or peeling wallpaper and bubbling paint, this can indicate water damage. Have it inspected by a licensed contractor right away.

Ceilings are required to be a minimum of 3 meters high. It’s recommended to choose materials with low thermal conductivity. This ensures that your tenants will be safeguarded from extreme heat. Proper insulation of the home is vital.

6. Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detectors

As carbon monoxide can be odorless and colorless, it’s hard to detect its presence. Having functional detectors helps your tenants mind their safety. This applies to sudden fires as well. So, when smoke appears in the late hours, the alarm would wake them up and they can go out to safety.

Take time to check if these detectors are working properly and test them out. You don’t want these to fail at the time they’re needed the most. In fact, landlords can be sued for negligence if smoke detectors fail.

7. Appliance Maintenance

One should maintain appliances well to meet property safety standards. You want to avoid an appliance overheating or exploding because it’s damaged. It could also be that it’s already too old and the internal wires aren’t functioning efficiently.

Having a list of the life expectancies of each appliance in your home lets you track normal wear and tear. This helps you determine if the appliance needs to be replaced or sent for repair.

keep a list of appliance life expectancy

It’s also good to inspect the quality of the appliances you have furnished your rental home. You might have bought some items cheap, which can serve as a huge risk.

8. Paint Safety

Most landlord-tenant laws require disclosures of lead in paint materials. In particular, residential units built before 1978 have a strong presence of lead. This can be toxic to a tenant’s health. Make sure to test the paint in your home and find a remedy from experts.

You want your rentals to be always safe and habitable. If you have renters that have young kids, it’s even more critical to pay attention to this. Kids can be curious and get paint on their mouth and hands. You want to prevent lead poisoning and keep them safe.

9. Pest Infestation

Pest infestation can be a common cause for tenant complaints. It goes against the warranty of habitability. As a landlord, you must take the presence of rodents, bugs and termites in a home seriously. Not only is it inconvenient to the renters, it will also progressively destroy your property.

Hiring exterminators regularly can fix this problem. Even if the infestation has stopped, it’s still a good idea to remain consistent. The possibility of a recurrence significantly reduces when you maintain a regular inspection schedule.


If you’re looking for some help regarding property management, contact Cavalier Estates. We aim to support your rental investments and ensure your tenants’ wellbeing.

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