49 | 8 Danger Zones in a Short Term Rental and How to Avoid Them | with Justin Ford
Feb 06, 2020
As promised, Justin Ford is back to talk about all things safety! We’re going to keep him on as a recurring guest all year, and today he’s going to talk about 8 danger zones in a short term rental.
In case you missed the first episode, Justin is a vacation rental safety expert. He works at a company called Breezeway, a property operations & services platform. He understands what it means to be a host, but he also understands why safety needs to be your top priority.
Here are 8 danger zones you need to be aware of:
- Each designated bedroom and/or sleeping area in the rental dwelling needs to provide a clear secondary means of exit. Make sure to provide the best opportunity for renters to escape and consider all restrictions that may prevent it.
- If the property uses propane or natural gas for cooking or heating, have all gas connections, plumbing and appliances inspected annually for leaks. If a rental uses natural gas or propane, take a look at visible gas plumbing for any signs of issue. Check for leaks using a leak detector if possible. Make sure all propane or oil furnace exhausts are working properly to prevent CO leaks into the property. Installing explosive gas detectors near gas appliances is highly recommended.
- Provide fire extinguishers. Is there at least one fire extinguisher, properly installed, with convenient access to the kitchen area? Install fire extinguishers in locations that ensure they are visible (don’t hide them under sinks or in drawers). The minimum requirement is that you install one near the exit/entrance to the kitchen. Yes – they don’t look atheistically pleasing – but you are renting a home commercially to others – make sure renters can find them easily when needed.
- Are all smoke detectors less than 10 years old, installed per their manufacturer instructions, and do they meet state and local requirements? State laws may require different types of connected installations. However, you must have a smoke detector in each bedroom, on each floor of the dwelling, including the basement, and one that is about 10 to 15 feet off the kitchen. You can’t install too many detectors! Putting in as many and the best type is the only way to go. Remember, the test button only confirms that the battery, electronics, and alert system are working; it doesn’t mean that the smoke sensor is working. As part of the post-stay inspection, there must be confirmation that each smoke detector is active by observing that the light is on. This is required as renters will take the batteries out of smoke detectors.
- Any rental dwelling with a fuel-fired heater, fireplace or attached garage must have a carbon monoxide alarm installed on each floor of the dwelling. Many states require the detectors to be installed in bedrooms as well. Are all required carbon monoxide detectors (CO detectors), less than 7 years old, installed per their manufacturer instructions, and do they meet state and local requirements? You can’t install too many detectors! Putting in as many and the best type is the only way to go. In order to ensure that your home has maximum protection, it's important to have a CO detector on every floor. Install CO detectors about five feet from the floor, not on the ceiling. Carbon monoxide detectors can get the best reading of your dwelling's air when they are placed five feet from the ground. Remember, the test button only confirms that the battery, electronics, and alert system are working; it doesn’t mean that the CO sensor is working.
- Is there an “Emergency Card” located in a highly visible location in the rental dwelling? In addition to emergency contact numbers – be sure to list the address of the dwelling prominently. In an emergency where a renter calls 911 from a cell phone, their access to the home address quickly may save critical moments for emergency responders to find the dwelling. The card can be made up of a notecard - or you can professionally make one by typing it up.
- If there is a spa/hot tub at the rental, does it have straps that secure it from a child accessing it? The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals (APSP) recommends that all hot tub owners have a safety cover that locks. Chemicals for the hot tub should be located out of the reach of children. Safety notices should be posted at the hot tub as well. There should be warning signs posted for hot tubs.
- If there is a swimming pool for use with the rental, is it surrounded by a gated fence that protects children from accessing it, or if it is above ground, are the stairs set up to protect from access? If not, is there a pool motion alarm? Does the pool have warning signs, depth markers and are NO water toys provided? Pool drowning at vacation rentals are unfortunately common. Go above and beyond to ensure your pool is safe for those unfamiliar with having one at their own home.