The words every person hopes they will never hear is “FIRE!”
as a landlord, the thought of a fire happening in one of my properties with tenants inside was one of the worst “what ifs” that ever crossed my mind when leasing my rentals. It was also one of those unimaginable thoughts. I thought “there’s no way..” but then it happened! I got the texts and calls telling me “fire! fire! fire!” and instantly the images of my house in flames started crowding my mind. Thankfully, my wife acted quickly and the fire department arrived at the scene within five minutes of us knowing there was a fire. It was a minor kitchen fire. In the grand scheme of fires, we were so grateful no one was hurt and the damage was truly minimal. It could have escalated quickly and for that I am so grateful for everyone’s speedy actions.
Well, this experience sparked the awareness in my mind that we cannot assume everyone knows what to do in the case of a fire. As I began researching fire safety videos and articles I started to realize that there were a lot of things even I wouldn’t have remembered to do in the midst of the emergency. As landlords, we can equip our tenants for these types of emergencies. It doesn’t cost much time and care to include a fire safety sheet/video when singing (or extending) a lease with a tenant. This precautious step may save (most importantly) our tenant’s lives, their belongings and our property! When people share their home buildings with others, it is important that each person feels safe with whom they are living in the building with. I believe this extra step in the lease signing agreement could potentially save lives as well as your property in the unfortunate case of a fire!
We have been considering different options in addition to this educational step. We have now seen the need for providing a fire extinguisher in our rentals. A couple of different options we have sketched out could be, the common fire extinguisher in a common area for the tenant’s use in case of an emergency. This approach may not work in some of our current rentals, in which we have thought of other options that may work better for you as well. Another option could be giving your tenant the option to purchase one from you (make sure you do this purchase! you want to know that the correct fire extinguisher is placed in your property), or thirdly they could rent one from you. You could simply do this by adding the cost of the extinguisher to the security deposit and then return this deposited money back to your tenant at the end of the lease (if the extinguisher was not used).
Real estate investing is not a get rich quick scheme, and at times comes with endless headaches one after the other. But, we are in this for the long run and so far the benefits have heavily outweighs the problems.
And now I really believe fire safety is #1!
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