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10 Holiday Safety Tips for Property Managers

December 17, 2019

The Christmas season is a time for your tenants to gather with loved ones, throw a party, and spread some holiday cheer. But it also leaves your rental property open to vulnerabilities and mishaps. 

Stay proactive and safeguard your tenants and your property with a few holiday safety tips.

1. Keep an Extra Eye for Out-of-Town Tenants

Reach out to your tenants and ask if they plan to travel this holiday season. Also, ask who is staying behind. 

Keep an eye on apartments and homes of tenants you know will be out of town. Exercise due diligence against package pirates. It’s all too easy for packages to go missing from porches and hallways. That’s the case even with the best neighbors around. 

2. Triple-Check All Building Safety Equipment

The holiday season may increase the likelihood of accidents on your property. Those can include Christmas tree fires and mishaps in the kitchen. 

Triple-check that all of your building safety equipment is in working order. Check everything from the carbon monoxide detectors to fire extinguishers. 

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), you should replace smoke alarms every 10 years. That could make this holiday season the best time to do it!

3. Enforce Maximum Occupancy Limits

From ugly Christmas sweaters to SantaCon, what’s the holiday season without an array of holiday-themed parties? 

Communicate the rules to your tenants. Remind them that the holidays are no exception to occupancy limits. 

If you have a lobby or entryway area,  embrace your responsibility for tenant safety. Post a sign outlining how many people can gather in individual units, balconies, and shared spaces.

4. Set Guidelines for Holiday Decorations

Illuminating the season can make your apartment complex feel more welcoming. However, it also requires the right holiday safety guidelines. 

Outline policies for Christmas tree safety, lit candles, and holiday lights. Let your tenants know about things that may break fire codes. For example, having many plugs in a single outlet. 

Remind tenants to unplug their Christmas trees and holiday lights upon leaving the premises or going to sleep. Flameless LED candles can take place of traditional candles, which can pose a fire hazard. Also, make sure tenants are aware of the dangers of sparklers, like the ones pictured above. Sparklers and Christmas trees don't make an ideal combo.

5. Make Safety Resources Available and Well-Known

Your tenants may be focusing more on their Christmas plans and year-end parties than holiday safety resources. 

Empower your tenants to take holiday safety into their own hands. Post phone numbers for taxis and local ride-sharing options. Also, post phone numbers for emergency services in each of your common areas for tenants requiring immediate assistance.

6. Ban Dangerous Appliances

Thanksgiving isn’t the only time of year that deep fryers come out for a holiday meal. 

Post notices to tenants that dangerous appliances like fryers are not permitted in the complex due to hot oil spillage and the risk of rapid fires. Hot plates and electrical heaters may also cause issues. Make sure to discuss all the potential issues with tenants so they understand the risks.

7. Keep the Gutters Clean

It’s easy to forget about gutters once autumn passes and the leaves stop falling. 

Practice holiday safety and perform another gutter check around your properties. That way, you can ensure leaves, twigs, and debris are clear. That’ll reduce the risk of potential damage to your property. 

Heavy snow and ice can also damage gutters. That makes it necessary to perform additional checks after a winter storm.

8. Prepare for Inclement Weather

The chill in the air may usher in a festive feeling. However, it’s also an omen for frozen pipes and icy parking lots. 

Make sure your heat and backup generators are working correctly. Speak to tenants in rental houses about leaving their heat on low. That way, they can avoid pipes freezing if they’re leaving town. 

Managing multiple properties can quickly get overwhelming with so much to do during the winter. It’s wise to set yourself an alert to regularly shovel and salt walkways, driveways, and entryways.

9. Post an Emergency Plan

Do your tenants know what to do in case of a fire or other emergency? 

Post a notice with additional emergency exit signage. Include essential phone numbers. Also, list how to contact property management during off-hours in case of a crisis. 

Encourage tenants to act neighborly and check in with each other after a storm or emergency situation.

10. Remind Tenants to Lock Up Their Valuables

Safeguarding valuables is always important. However, people should take extra precautions during the Christmas season when gifts and gadgets arrive.

Remind tenants to keep their front doors, windows, and balconies locked at all times. Check the functionality of any locks on the front of your complex. 

Encourage tenants to pick up packages for each other. You can also do a sweep through the building once or twice a day. Then, you can collect and store packages upon tenant request.

Final Thoughts

With the right plan in place, holiday safety should feel like an extra layer of protection instead of a dreaded chore. You can even turn it into a festive occasion. Consider hosting a Christmas gathering for your tenants to eat, drink, and talk all things holiday safety.

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Justin Chaplin
Justin is a Content Manager and contributing author at Apartment List, helping people navigate the world of renting. Justin previously spent his time earning his BBA in Marketing from Boise State University. Read More
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