With Halloween only a couple days away, it is time to get ready for the holiday and make a plan to ensure everyone enjoys a safe celebration. The spooky holiday screams for safety as kids of all ages get ready for a sugar loaded fright fest.
As a landlord or property manager, you cannot always count on your tenants to take the necessary steps to make sure your property is safe for the high traffic, evening event. Whether you manage a single-family home a multi-unit complex, help your tenants and visitors have a safe and fun Halloween by taking the following precautions to safeguard your property.
Tenant Tips for Halloween
Keep Outdoor Areas Well Lit
While a dimly lit hallway might add to the spook factor, you will be much better off ensuring your property is well lit. Beyond front doors and entry ways, make sure stairways, walkways, and parking areas adequate lighting. A well lit dwelling will make trick-or-treaters feel more comfortable and will also deter vandalism from Halloween pranksters.
Remind Tenants about Fire Safety
It wouldn’t be Halloween without a few brightly lit jack-o-lanterns and luminaries but they can easily get forgotten or overturned. Remind your tenants about your open flame policies and make sure smoke alarms on your property are working properly. An easy alternative to open flames are battery-powered, flameless candles like these ones from Target or a glow-stick can add an eerie glow to a spooky jack-o-lantern.
Keep Common Areas Clear
Cobwebs, carved pumpkins and tombstones help set the scene but make sure they aren’t in the way of a clear walkway. Bulky costumes, masks and unsteady children are a recipe for disaster if any obstacles cross their path. Make sure decorations are kept to the sides of any high traffic passage and remind your tenants to pick up any loose debris that might have been neglected.
Keep pets enclosed
Strange noises and unfamiliar visitors can make pets feel anxious, remind your tenants to put their pets in a back room during the festivities to prevent them from getting out or acting aggressive.
Remind your Tenants about Renters Insurance
Even with all these precautions, accidents can happen. Remind your tenants about the benefits of renters insurance as low cost protection in case a scared dog bites a trick-or-treater, a vandal destroys any belongings, or a bad guy steals something during a Halloween party.
Landlord Tips for Halloween
You can do more than remind your tenants of tips for a safe Halloween. Here are some extra steps you can take to protect your properties from potential damage and reduce the chances of injury on this high traffic holiday.
If any of your properties are vacant this time of year, now is a good time to pay them a special visit. Since Halloween falls on a Saturday this year, the chances for more mischief in your neighborhood are higher and empty houses are easy targets. Check that doors and windows are locked and secure, and give the outside of the property a quick cleaning so it looks occupied. Ask neighbors to let you know if they see anything suspicious.
If you have a rule that tenants can’t use candles in their rental homes, remind them. Because not all tenants follow candle rules, check that your smoke alarms were recently tested (this is a good rule to have in place all the time). Not convinced ? Check out this horror story about a landlord in Maine who’s inoperable smoke detectors resulted in a deadly house fire on Halloween.
Since landlords can be liable for injuries to visitors to their rental property. To avoid real blood, clear common areas, paths, walkways, and driveways of any items that could trip up an excited trick-or-treater running to a front door. Mark holes/cracks in sidewalk clearly. And remember that younger trick-or-treaters, whether fueled or lured by candy, may run across your rental’s lawn, so clear that too and fill in any holes.
Halloween is a good time to check in with your insurance agent to make sure you have good liability insurance. Ask about your coverage limits and if you haven’t done so already, set up auto-pay.