As a property owner, you have the responsibility of ensuring that your properties are well maintained, efficient, and comfortable. These responsibilities become even more vital during the winter months, when hazards increase significantly. The below steps can help you keep your tenants safe while reducing your liability in the process.
1. Maintain Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Carbon monoxide detectors are vital for any property. Not only are such detectors required by law in most states, but they also simply make sense, particularly during the winter, when heating devices are in use. Replacing the batteries in carbon monoxide detectors is vital, but it’s also important to make sure that your detectors are well maintained. Over time, age and dust may result in failures that can cause false positives. Unfortunately, this often leads tenants to ignore true danger. Check the carbon monoxide detectors in your property and ensure that they’re in good condition.
2. Have a Plan for Ice Removal
Make certain that you have a plan in place for ice removal. Even in areas where the weather tends to be warm, rare storms can occur, so be sure you are prepared. First, be clear about who bears the responsibility for removing ice and snow. Property owners are typically responsible for clearing common areas. Remember that prevention is vital. A slip and fall injury can result in expensive claims.
3. Avoid Improper Use of Electrical Outlets
During the winter months, improper use of outlets often increases. This is often a result of holiday light displays and the use of portable electric heaters. Make a point of inspecting your properties. Keep an eye out for outlets that may be potentially overloaded and for cords that may run over walkways or carpeting.
4. Keep the Heat at a Comfortable Level
While keeping the heat up may result in higher utility costs, doing so could actually help you to ensure your tenants stay safe while reducing serious risks during the winter months. When the heat is reduced to uncomfortable levels, tenants often use space heaters in an improper manner, increasing the chance of fire. Keeping the heat at a comfortable level can help to prevent such problems
5. Set Outdoor Lighting on a Timer
As the days become shorter, outdoor lighting becomes even more important for the safety of your tenants. Outdoor lights should be set to turn on earlier, as many tenants may be returning during the dark. Rainy or snowy conditions also make it vital to ensure that sufficient lighting is provided, thus preventing the potential for slips and falls in the dark. In addition, make it a point to inspect your lighting to ensure that it’s in good working order.
By taking steps to keep your tenants safe during the winter months, you can increase tenant satisfaction while also reducing potential liability. Evergreen Insurance offers numerous insurance product options for all types of commercial real estate as well as multifamily properties. Contact one of our representatives today to learn more about various coverage options.