Holiday Safety Tips to Tell Your Rental Home Tenants

by Lesly Gregory | Updated: Nov 8, 2023

The holidays can get stressful all on their own, and the last thing you want to worry about is safety. Not just yours, but that of your rental property and tenants. Taking the time to share these holiday safety tips can give you peace of mind as the landlord, and ensure your residents stay safe throughout this busy time of year.

1. Inspect all electrical decorations

Frayed or broken electrical cords can easily cause a fire hazard. Check anything, especially strings of lights, for issues before using them. If they're damaged, get rid of them.

2. Don't overload outlets

Each power outlet can only handle drawing so much power. Don't plug everything into a single one. This includes being careful about adding a power strip to an already loaded outlet. By spreading electrical items around, you lower the chance that any single outlet will fail.

3. Unplug things when asleep or away

If something electric malfunctions, you want to be able to respond to it. If you're away from home or asleep, you can't do that. For that reason, holiday safety tips all suggest you unplug your decorations before going to sleep or leaving your home.

If you don't want to leave a dark house while you're away, put your lights on timers so they're not always on, and consider putting a camera up so you can keep an eye on things no matter where you are.

4. Care for real Christmas trees right

While your real Christmas tree is up, make sure to care for it right. Dry trees are a fire hazard. Watering your tree daily keeps it from drying out. If you don't want to deal with that, then it might be best you use an artificial tree.

Additionally, you should dispose of your tree properly to ensure it's not laying, dry and dead, in the yard for an indeterminate amount of time. It may be possible to arrange for pick-up of your tree from the local trash service, but if not, you can most likely find a separate company who will come take it away.

5. Monitor lit candles

Lighting a candle

Christmas is the peak day for candle-related fires in homes. To decrease the potential for this to happen, make sure lit candles stay separate from combustible items. Keep them a safe distance from things like paper, and other holiday decorations. Another holiday safety tip is to make sure to blow them out when you leave the room or leave the house.

You can also opt for battery-operated candles. They still look good, especially as part of a larger decorative piece, and you don't have to worry about any safety issues.

6. Tape down extension cords

Extension cords are so useful during the holidays. They give you the flexibility of setting up your tree, or other holiday decorations, anywhere you want. They're also a tripping hazard. If you can't cover up your cords under a rug, make sure to tape them down to keep everyone safe from a fall.

7. Pet-proof and baby-proof your holiday decorations

Many holiday decorations are either breakable or harmful for curious hands and paws. Holiday plants like mistletoe and poinsettias are pretty to display, but poisonous if accidentally ingested. You want to make sure they're kept out of reach of children and pets.

Breakable ornaments can also make your tree less safe. It's almost too tempting to grab them. Putting them toward the top of the tree is one way to keep them safe. You can also keep them off the tree until your kids are older. When it comes to pets, don't underestimate their need to knock your tree over, or even jump into it. For that reason, avoiding breakable ornaments is also a good idea.

8. Keep flammable items away from heat sources

This should be obvious, but check the house once all your decorations are up. Your tree can catch fire easily, so make sure it's not near too many power cords or sitting in front of the fireplace. This also applies to things near the oven while cooking for the holidays.

9. Check smoke detectors and fire extinguishers

Smoke detector

Smoke detectors last for about 10 years. Fire extinguishers stay good for anywhere from 5 to 15 years. Every year around the holidays is a great time to check dates on these items and replace those that have moved past their prime. Keeping expired smoke detectors and fire extinguishers increases the risk that they won't work properly when you need them the most.

10. Check and clean your fireplace

Creosote buildup in a chimney can lead to fires, so have it cleaned before you start using the fireplace. Also, check it for any stray things that may have gotten in there. You want to burn dry, well-aged wood only, not random things that may have fallen into the fireplace.

Make sure you've opened the flue before lighting a fire and start with a nearby window cracked in case the fireplace starts to smoke.

11. Use a screen on your fireplace

In addition to keeping things from getting into your fireplace, make sure things don't get out either. Stray embers can easily start a fire. Putting a screen over the fireplace will help keep them from getting out and causing a problem.

12. Store firewood properly

Stored firewood

While you're thinking about fireplaces, you also want to ensure firewood gets stored properly, especially if it's kept outside. The storage system you use should keep the wood dry and off the ground. You also don't want stacks to get higher than four feet, and your pile should be away from the house.

13. Save pipes from freezing

If you live in a particularly cold area, you want to make sure to avoid having your pipes freeze as temperatures drop. Pipes can freeze starting when it hits 20 degrees Fahrenheit for at least six consecutive hours. The best holiday safety tip to prevent this is to keep at least one faucet dripping overnight when the thermostat dips. As long as water moves through the pipes, there's less risk of a freeze.

14. Tread carefully around the ice

Living where it's likely that driveways, outdoor steps and sidewalks will ice over means preparing in advance. Keeping a container of ice melt in the garage so it's handy for tenants at any point can reduce the risks of dangerous slips and falls. To use, apply it before a storm to keep ice from forming. If you can't do that, apply as soon as possible after the storm, with the best time being once the snow gets cleared away.

15. Prepare your car for winter

Snow covered car

Also important if you live in particularly cold areas is to make sure you have anti-freeze and snow tires. Some routine maintenance to make sure the car is working in its best condition isn't strictly necessary but can help a lot.

16. Keep an eye on your furnace

Most heaters run on gas, and while they're very safe, you've still got a flame and fuel, so problems are a possibility. While running your heater during the winter make sure the area around it is clean and clear.

For extra protection, you may want to install at least one carbon monoxide alarm in the home. If it's been a while since the furnace got serviced, it might be time to schedule a routine check.

Help your tenants stay safe this holiday season

There's so much to think about as you near the end of the year, but you don't want any distractions to put your property at risk. Sharing these holiday safety tips will not only protect your investment, but will keep your tenants, and their stuff, safer.

Categories: Landlords

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