It’s official — with Thanksgiving behind us, holiday tunes on the radio, and winter temperatures returning to Kansas City, the holiday spirit is in full swing. While your tenants are probably eager to string up their decorations and cozy up by the fireplace if they haven’t already, before the season gets too far you need to address several holiday safety tips to keep your property — and more importantly, your tenants — happy and healthy.
Every year thousands of people are injured due to holiday decorations, whether sustained when putting up outdoor lights or caused by Christmas tree fires. If you implement these holiday safety tips in your rental properties, you can give yourself and your tenants peace of mind.
‘Tis the Season to Talk Safety: Holiday Safety Tips for Landlords
Be Careful With Interior Lights
The first of our holiday safety tips? Remind your tenants of the shelf life of their holiday decorations. Whether they’re strung up on a tree, looped around garland on a bannister, or tacked around an interior window to add a little twinkle, those ubiquitous Christmas lights could pose a fire hazard if they aren’t replaced every 3-4 years. Before they’re put up, lights should be checked for broken or cracked sockets, frayed wires, and loose bulbs or connections. These holiday safety tips are no joke, especially when you consider that there are 300 fires per year caused by trees and lights, causing 10 fatalities, 30 injuries, and $10,000,000 in property damage.
Our holiday safety tips don’t just apply to outdated or malfunctioning decorations — they also dictate how you use them. Make your tenants aware that they should never plug more than three light strands into a single extension cord to prevent fire hazards. Also, ask that they turn off their decorative lights during the day or while they are away for extended periods. If your tenants follows your holiday safety tips for their interior lights, they should stay jolly this season!
Up on the Rooftop
Your tenants might also want to put up exterior lights, which means reminders about holiday safety tips are in order. Every year, 13,000 people sustain injuries from falls or electric shocks as they put up their outdoor lights. If your tenant heads up on the rooftop (or even just up on a ladder), they risk damage to your property — walking on shingles in cold conditions can damage them — and injury to themselves. This could leave you liable, or footing some expensive repair bills. In your holiday safety tips, be clear with your tenants about whether they are allowed to put up their own exterior lights. If they choose to do so, have them sign a contract stating that they acknowledge the holiday safety tips, they are not allowed to traverse the roof (ladders only, please!), and that you are not liable for any injury sustained in the process.
Remind your tenants of these holiday safety tips for exterior lights before they start decorating, too. All exterior lights should be checked for damage and replaced every few years or so. Any extension cords used must be designated for exterior use and plugged into ground fault circuit interrupter protected outlets, which protect people from electrical shock. Outdoor holiday safety tips like these should help keep your tenants out of the hospital!
Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire
Holiday safety tips also extend to elements of your rental that are around year-round, but not really used until winter, like your wood-burning fireplace. Getting the flue cleaned in the fall should be on your landlord to-do list. This will prevent harmful creosote build-up, again preventing a fire hazard like many of our other holiday safety tips.
You should also give your tenants holiday safety tips to help them use the fireplace properly. Caution them that nothing but firewood should be burned. If your tenants throw wrapping paper into the fire, they risk causing flash fires, as these materials grow quite hot when they burn — make sure that they know this is not allowed as part of your holiday safety tips.
Candles can provide warmth and lovely aromas but also fire risks unless these holiday safety tips are followed. Remind your tenants to never leave candles unattended and to watch where they place them, ensuring no flammable objects are nearby. If they fail to take heed of these candle-related holiday safety tips, inform them that 11,600 fires, 1200 injuries, and 130 deaths per year are caused by candles, along with $173,000,000 in property loss.
We suggest printing out a list of these holiday safety tips to give to your tenants this season — and if you are already a client of National Property Management, rest assured the tenants have already been given these holiday tips!