Fire safety is a must to protect your Wellington real estate from damage and ensure the safety of your tenants – use these simple tips to reduce the fire risk in your rental property.
Install Smoke Alarms
The easiest and most obvious solution, a correctly installed smoke alarm is your first defence against fires within your Wellington rental property. Under the recent Residential Tenancies Act amendment, landlords must now install smoke alarms throughout their rental properties. These alarms must be working, and include long-life batteries and a photoelectric sensor. Once installed it’s the tenant’s responsibility to check the smoke alarms are in working order, however it’s a good idea to regularly check them yourself at the start of each tenancy and during routine property inspections to reassure yourself that all the alarms are in working order.
Provide Fire Extinguishers
Protect your tenants and property by keeping a fire extinguisher handy inside the rental property. Place it in an easy to find place that is highly visible but out of reach of children. According to the New Zealand Fire Service 25% of house fires start in the kitchen, making this a good place for a fire extinguisher in your rental property. Ensure you inform new tenants of its location at the beginning of each tenancy, and regularly check it still works during property inspections. Don’t forget to service it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Examine Your Appliances
To prevent fires caused by faulty products, examine home appliances like washing machines and ovens before beginning a tenancy and during regular property inspections to make sure they meet required safety standards, and repair or replace damaged, cracked, loose or defective items when necessary, or ask the tenant to if it belongs to them.
Provide An Evacuation Scheme
At the beginning of each tenancy it’s a good idea to provide new tenants with an evacuation scheme, and stick a small poster of it on the wall next to the fire extinguisher. This should provide details on what to do if they discover a fire and how to deal with the fire (for example, an oil fire). Also direct them to any fire alarms or fire escapes present in the property at the beginning of the tenancy.
Get Adequate Insurance
Protect your property with full replacement insurance. This allows you to claim for your entire rental property to be rebuilt after certain hardships (such as house fires), making this a necessary for protecting your property from long-term fire damage.
Be aware that some insurance companies provide requirements that must be satisfied before landlords can make claims. Keep record of all email communications to tenants informing them of upcoming property inspections, and any other relevant records to provide evidence that you have done what was reasonably expected to provide your tenants with a safe and healthy home. In the case of a fire, keep an inventory of all the items you own within the property to help you claim back on the contents, and advise new tenants to do the same.
For more information on other ways to protect your property from fire, check out the New Zealand Fire Service website.
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