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Analyze Your Property for Safety Before Leasing


If you have an old property or are renting your home out for the first time in Philly, it can pay to have a risk assessment done on your property for many reasons. Here are some tips on how and why to get a risk assessment done.


Why to Do a Risk Assessment


The first reason to conduct a risk assessment is to protect your own legal interests. When you’re renting a home, there are some reasonable conditions that the house must meet to protect the lessee’s safety. By getting an evaluation, you are ensuring that there were no unreasonable safety hazards on the property before the tenant moved in. You can also make sure that your property meets city guidelines for tenants; you need to have certain safety measures in place such as fire detectors and railings on the stairways. Photo: www.which.co.uk


Finally, your risk assessment can help you determine if you should take some extra steps to prevent accidents. If your tenant is injured on your property, they can likely sue you under your property insurance. The risk assessment can help you determine the likelihood of injury on your property, and whether it’s worth it to put up more safety measures.


What Goes into a Risk Inspection?


A general safety inspection will include a few things, such as making sure the foundation of your building is stable and that there are no obvious problems with mold. It may also include making sure that the stairs are even and safe, and that the building complies with fire code standards. However, there are also a few issues that are specific to Philadelphia that you’ll want to make sure are covered in your inspection.


Testing for Lead


There are a few city-wide laws that are important to consider when doing a risk assessment. For instance, Philadelphia requires that you either get an assessment done for lead paint or have your tenants sign a disclosure that states that they assume the risk for possible lead paint. Since many tenants will look to see that this inspection has been done, it’s wise to include this in your safety assessment of the property.


RELATED: South Philadelphia Homes at Risk: What You Need To Know


Testing for Weather- Related Hazards


Another Philly-specific aspect of property testing is to look for environmental hazards related to severe weather. Since the heavy snow can be a problem, for instance, you’ll want to look for proper roof maintenance before you rent out your property. Your safety team will look to make sure that the roof is strong enough and in a good state of repair before the tenant moves in. Not only will this protect you in case there are weather-related issues with the roof, but it will also help to put some of the liability back on the tenant if they fail to take care of the roof.


How to Do a Risk Analysis


There are a few steps to doing a great risk assessment before leasing a house. Safety consultants can inspect the house’s foundation, its appliances, and the materials in the house to certify that they are safe for occupation. Before leasing a house, you may want to have a thorough documentation of all of these risks to present to your tenants before they move in. If your tenant has any special health concerns, it can be worth it to get further inspections for toxins in the home.


You may want to include the safety inspection as part of the rental agreement. For instance, if you have noted a few problems with your rental property but don't have the budget to fix them, have your tenant sign off on the inspection to make sure that they're aware of potential safety problems.

Having all of these risks evaluated beforehand can save a lot of trouble for you and your tenant. The tenant assumes the rest of the risk after knowing what hazards there are in renting the house. A simple risk assessment is key to protecting you from liability.

Lee Flynn is from the Wasatch Mountains near Salt Lake City, UT. After Lee spent years preparing himself, his home and his family, he decided he had to do more. In his free time, Lee helps educate those who want to do the same. Through small local workshops and articles, Lee trains and teaches others on home preparation, food storage techniques, wilderness survival and self reliance. After obtaining a bachelors degree from the University of Utah, Lee moved to the Salt Lake Valley where he now lives with his wife and daughter.

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Photo: www.which.co.uk