Safety is essential in your Memphis rental property, and you’ll never find a well-qualified tenant to rent your property if they don’t feel safe and secure in the home. You want to make sure that everything in the home is working the way it’s meant to; you can’t have outlets that smoke and spark or sewage that’s coming up through the plumbing.
You need to protect yourself, too. This is a valuable asset you’re renting out, and there are multiple risks that come with owning an investment property. When you don’t have tenants in place and the property is vacant, you have to make sure it’s safe from potential criminal acts, theft, and vandalism.
What can you do to keep your Memphis rental property safe for you and your tenants?
We have a few ideas.
Equipment to Prevent Fires in Memphis Rental Homes
First, equip your property for safety. You want to prevent fires, which can put your tenants in danger and leave you vulnerable to a complete loss. You’ll need smoke alarms that function properly and are strategically placed. You’ll also want a fire extinguisher in case there’s a minor fire that breaks out in the kitchen or elsewhere.
Smoke Detector Requirements
Tennessee law requires that landlords install and maintain smoke detectors in any residential unit offered for lease or rent. If you don’t comply with the smoke detector laws, you can be charged up to $100 per day. The alarm must be installed in bedrooms or right outside bedrooms so that the alarm is audible to residents who may be sleeping.
Memphis city laws require that landlords follow the state law as well as the National Fire Protection Association Standard that addresses smoke detectors in residential buildings and homes. Remember that smoke alarms 10 years of age or older should be replaced.
Whether you’re renting out a single-family home or a multifamily unit, you need to provide a working fire extinguisher so small fires can be contained and put out by tenants. Provide at least one fire extinguisher in your rental property, and it should be in a location that’s easily accessible. Make sure your tenants know where to find it and how to use it.
Be mindful of other fire hazards in your rental home. Vacuum out the dryer vents if you provide washers and dryers. Check that your wires are working and properly insulated. Older homes may have faulty wiring that needs to be updated. If an electrical outlet pops or the wires that plug into it get warm, it could be a fire danger. Inspect these things regularly and during turnover periods.
Locks and Lighting in Memphis Rental Homes
Your rental property should have windows and doors that open and close easily and lock properly.
Deadbolts are great so tenants can lock their doors from the inside. Any sliding glass doors should have extra protections such as pin locks. A peephole is an excellent way for tenants to get a look at who is outside before they open the door.
If you’re willing to invest in extra technology, there’s a security feature that does a better job than the peephole. It’s the video doorbell, which has become extremely popular. The video creates a feed to an app that can be downloaded onto a phone. Your residents might like the idea of seeing who is at the front door just by looking at their phones.
Even if you don’t want to install the video doorbell technology yourself, allow your tenants the option of doing it on their own once they move in. You want to approve these types of modifications that will allow them to feel safer.
You need enough lighting outside your property so tenants can safely get from cars to their front doors.
Make sure there’s a porch light and plenty of lighting around any parking areas, whether it’s a garage or a parking lot or a driveway. Motion lights are also a smart investment.
Protecting Yourself While Securing Your Memphis Investment Property
Once you know your tenants are safe, how can you protect yourself and your own financial interests when it comes to your investment?
There are a few immediate ideas that we have for your own safety:
- Invest in good insurance. You want to buy as much protection as you can, for liability, property damage, loss of rent, and other potential catastrophes. No one ever regrets the insurance they have, they only regret what they don’t have.
- Make sure you’re screening tenants carefully. A bad tenant poses financial risks to you and they can also be dangerous to the neighborhood and your entire community. Set up some rigorous and consistent screening criteria, and stick to it.
- Conduct routine inspections. You will only know that there’s a problem with your property if you get inside and take a look around. Move-in and move-out inspections are always necessary, and a mid-lease inspection can also be beneficial to check for deferred or unreported maintenance issues.
- Prioritize preventative maintenance. This protects your tenants and your property. It also protects you from potentially expensive emergency repairs.
Follow all the state, local, and federal rental laws so you don’t find yourself making a legal mistake or being dragged into court.
Vacant Memphis Rental Homes
A lot of potential risks come with vacant homes.
Do everything you can to limit vacancy times. When your property is vacant, make sure you’re getting inside every few days. You won’t know if a pipe bursts or if some other maintenance emergency occurs because no one is there to report it. Vacant homes are also more susceptible to things like theft. Criminals could break in and steal appliances, wiring, air conditioning units, and who knows what else. Make sure your property is not an easy target.
Protecting your tenants must be a priority for Memphis landlords. You need to ensure your property is safe for them. Protect yourself, too, and remain vigilant. It’s the only way to preserve the value and condition of your investment.
We’d be happy to show you how we can help. Please contact us at RiverTown Realty if you have any questions about keeping your tenants safe or if you need help with Memphis property management.