As building owners & managers, you know the importance of keeping your property protected and your tenants safe. This applies not only to the condition of the buildings (doing what you can to mitigate damage) but to the common areas as well. Your liability is the most at risk with Tenants & their visitors as they come and go from the rental units – sometimes in rainy conditions, making it all the more slippery for them.
Taking action to prevent losses before they happen helps to reduce the chances that your tenants or visitors will be injured, thus making for a more satisfactory rental experience. This also helps to minimize property damage and avoid expensive & stressful liability claims against you, thus helping to reduce future insurance costs. So, regular maintenance and loss control should be your first line of defense to help reduce or eliminate potential hazards to your investments.
According to the National Safety Council, approximately 12,000 deaths occur each year in the U.S. as a result of stairway accidents; many more real & bogus claims – which cost you more in the end – also result from slick stairways. Here are some nifty moves you can make to help to secure your properties:
- Make sure that the stairs are clear & in good repair
- Make sure handrails are secure (if you don’t have them, we recommend that you install them)
- Ensure that handrails are smooth and rounded so that they don’t catch loose garment or bags
- Prevent slipping with non-skid strips and/or paint
- Provide proper lighting; many claimants complain of lack of lighting and of an inability to see walkway clearly – and they win
- Contrast steps by the use of color, so that the steps are easily seen and can’t be misjudged
- Regularly inspect the stairways for cracked, rotted, or broken joists & beams and damaged steps – and repair immediately.
- Install smoke detectors in all hallways & stairways; change batteries every 6 months
- Install fire extinguishers in common areas & inspect monthly
- Ensure your self-closing devices on Fire Doors are working
- Keep weeds, brush, and debris away from the buildings
- Make sure Trash Dumpsters & other receptacles are set away from the buildings
- Store flammables away from the buildings in a securely locked shed and not in the sunlight
- Inspect chimneys annually and repair any deterioration; chimneys cause lots of fires in attics & ceilings.
- Install & Maintain Exterior Lighting
- Remove or Trim dead, overgrown or weak branches.
- Repair uneven or cracked pavement; keep all pavements clean and free of water, oil, grease, and similar hazards.
- Anchor or secure objects, such as umbrellas or trash cans that could be blown about by high winds
- Repair/Replace damaged roof shingles and tiles
- Inspect electrical boxes for damage or deterioration & repair asap