All business ventures come with risks: product failures, lost investments, and data breaches among so many others. For those who choose to invest in real estate, however, the worst case scenarios can be much more dire. Irresponsible landlords not only risk their investments but can endanger others through their negligence.

If you’re considering entering into the business of property investment, there are a number of key safety rules you should follow every step of the way. Keep these 3 practices at the center of your business model and stand out as a reliable landlord.

Inspect Early And Often

Before you purchase any property, it’s important that it be thoroughly inspected. This is standard procedure, although in some cases you may be encouraged to buy a property “as is,” typically for a reduced price.

A property inspection should address all facets of the home, including a careful examination of the foundation, plumbing, electrical systems, and food, and should also cover topics such as existing water damage or pest infestations. Before anyone moves into the building, any problems should be fully resolved – no termites, no leaks, and everything up to code. And once you have tenants, you should repeat inspections on a regular basis and address any new problems.

Equip For Fire

One of the worst things that can happen to any property owner and their tenants is a house fire, but of course, accidents happens and some landlords are negligent. So, while you can’t prevent every fire, there are several steps you can take as a landlord to minimize your role in any blaze.

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First, make sure that all of your properties are equipped with smoke alarms and fire extinguishers, and inspect them regularly to make sure they are all in working order. Sure, you could leave this up to your tenants – especially the smoke detectors – but you have more invested in these properties than they do and it’s better for you to take charge as a landlord.

In addition installing fire alarms and extinguishers in your apartments, you might look into whether or not your city offers fire protection system grants. These comprehensive systems can directly contact the fire department and prevent a fire from spreading.

Ultimately, if you fail to take responsibility for fire prevention in your properties, you may find yourself subject to a burn injury lawsuit. Burn injuries can be quite severe, requiring extensive medical treatment and months or years of recovery. Put your tenants’ safety first (and your financial well being close behind it) and stop fires before they start.

Look Behind The Scenes

Finally, one of the most difficult forms of damage to detect in a property is mold damage; even toxic mold may have few or no visible signs. Looking for signs of water damage can help, but isn’t always a giveaway. What you can do, though, is have a special company come through and test for toxic mold spores.

Toxic mold spores can make tenants extremely ill and you should consider testing for them as just one part of maintaining a safe environment. Though many read this regulation as requiring only the minimum from landlords, such as locks and hot water, you want to do better than that. And there have certainly been successful lawsuits holding landlords responsible for mold-induced illness and other uncommon harms.

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Your role as a landlord is to provide a safe, comfortable place for your tenants to reside and to abide by the mutual terms of your contract. Develop a good working relationship with your tenants, address problems as they arise, and put safety issues first and you should find success in the world of real estate investment.

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