If you’re renting a property to a tenant or if you’re considering moving to a new property with your family, health and safety should be one of your top concerns. In any residential property, there are features, sections of damage, and flaws that could jeopardize your health and safety either acutely or chronically.
Fortunately, there are a handful of strategies that can help you make your property safer and healthier.
Conduct a Thorough Home Inspection
One of your first priorities should be conducting a thorough home inspection with a licensed, experienced inspector. It costs a few hundred dollars, but it will help you identify the most significant issues standing in the way of your property’s health and safety.
These are some of the most common issues to look out for:
- Electrical issues. Old wiring, like knob and tube, and wiring that isn’t up to code can both present a fire hazard. Electricity is powerful and can easily result in disaster, so electrical issues should be a top concern to address.
- Hazardous materials. Some homes were built or modified with hazardous materials, like asbestos. If you encounter these, you’ll need to remediate them as soon as possible.
- Obvious points of damage. Certain types of damage can be both dangerous and destructive. For example, foundation cracks, a leaking roof, and other issues can undermine the structural integrity of the home.
Set the Ground Rules Proactively
Next, set the ground rules proactively. If you’re going to have tenants in a rental property, it’s important to establish good communication with them early in the process. Explain the highlights and features of the property and explain what’s expected of them in terms of maintenance and upkeep. If there are any safety or health issues, let them know about them – depending on where you live and what the issues are, it may be a legal requirement.
With your family, setting ground rules is also important, and you’ll have more control over their enforcement. Teach your family about the most important features of the property and how to take care of the property responsibly.
Upgrade the Security
After that, go through the house and upgrade the security. There are several ways you can do this:
- Doors and locks. Check the doors and install new locks, especially if you’re moving into a recently purchased house.
- Windows. Windows are common entry points, so secure them with better locking mechanisms (and ideally, alarms).
- Lighting. Motion-based outdoor lighting can greatly enhance the security of your property.
- A security system. Ideally, you’ll also have a functional security system installed.
- A weapon. Firearm ownership is a contentious issue, but any kind of secure weapon can aid you in the event of a home invasion.
Plan for Fires and Natural Disasters
Fires and other natural disasters can threaten the property and everyone inside. Fortunately, there are many ways you can stay prepared.
- Install and test smoke alarms. Make sure you have a smoke detector on every floor and outside of every bedroom. Also, be sure to test them regularly and change the batteries when necessary. Carbon monoxide detectors are also a good investment.
- Buy a fire extinguisher. Fire extinguishers are inexpensive, relatively compact, and easy to use even if you have no practice. Best of all, they can stop a small fire before it gets worse – protecting your property and your residents.
- Keep emergency supplies on hand. Create a cache of emergency supplies in the event of a natural disaster. A few gallons of distilled water, non-perishable food supplies, a flashlight, a radio, and some extra batteries can go a long way. While you’re at it, make sure you have a robust first-aid kit on hand.
- Document and practice an emergency response plan. Create an emergency response plan with your family; in the event of an emergency, what should everyone be doing? Where will you meet up?
Keep the House (and Air) Clean
Routine cleaning and commitment to cleanliness can minimize the spread of viruses and bacteria – and possibly decrease respiratory stress in the environment. Wipe down commonly used surfaces with disinfectants on a regular basis, eliminate dust and pet dander, and implement a good air purifier to remove common contaminants from the air.
Identify and Remediate Mold and Mildew
Finally, learn how to identify and get rid of mold and mildew. Most forms of mold and mildew aren’t especially harmful, but some varieties are both destructive and toxic for humans. Be on the lookout for any signs of these moisture-loving species and take action before it’s too late.
These are just some of the ways you can improve both the health and safety of your property. In addition to protecting the individuals who live there, these improvements and changes can protect the property from damage and keep its value high.