Ward, Hayden

Summer Vacation Rental Property Safety Audit

Home Safety Audit

As a rental property owner, it’s crucial to take the time to routinely address potential safety risks on your property. After all, even seemingly minor household issues — such as stray cords, dust buildup or leaky faucets — can spiral into significant problems if left unnoticed. By conducting an annual safety audit, you can help keep your property safe and secure — reducing the risk of guest injuries, lawsuits, property damage and costly insurance claims.

Emergency Preparedness Considerations

There is always the chance of an unforeseen event happening that could disrupt your normal business operations — whether that is a natural disaster, a fire, or a break-in. Luckily, there are a few steps you can take to mitigate and lessen the blow of emergencies.

Smoke Alarms & Detectors. Ensure that smoke alarms are properly installed inside and outside of each bedroom, as well as on every level of your property — including the basement. Test all alarms for effectiveness once every month and replace batteries once every year. Replace alarms every 10 years. Test carbon monoxide (CO) detectors are properly installed outside of each bedroom and on every level of your home.

Escape Plans. Establish a fire emergency escape plan that outlines several safe escape routes from different levels and rooms within the rental property. Be sure to practice this plan with your household. If you already have a plan in place, make sure to review it.

Fire Extinguishers. Place portable fire extinguishers in areas that have an elevated fire risk, such as the kitchen and the garage. Make sure to have a section in your welcome booklet that outlines how to safely use an extinguisher. Inspect extinguishers to ensure that the pressure gauge is in the green zone, the pin and tamper seal are intact and there are no other external damages (e.g., dents, rust or leaks). Replace as needed.

Burglar Safety. Ensure proper locks on all windows and doors to help deter home burglars. Install a sturdy deadbolt on each exterior door. Consider implementing additional home security measures, such as motion-activated exterior lighting and security cameras.

Indoor Safety Considerations

Due to the volume of valuable items and equipment found inside of rental properties (e.g., bedding, furniture, HVAC systems, laundry machines, artwork), indoor property exposures are numerous. Complicating matters, damage can be caused by a variety of factors, including equipment failures, plumbing issues, poor wiring, and natural disasters. Making sure that the inside of your property is just as well kept as the outside is key. A lot of times, dangerous hazards such as slipping and falling or mold exposure incurs on the inside of the property and can lead to lawsuits between owners and guests.

Electrical. Inspect all electrical outlets and panels for loose-fitting pieces or poorly fitted covers. Avoid overcrowding electrical outlets. Check all electrical wires, cords and plugs for signs of damage or fraying. Make sure all wires and cords are arranged safely to avoid slip and trip hazards. Contact a qualified electrician for a further inspection.

Major Appliances. Inspect all major household features such as your sump pump, water heater, furnace and HVAC system for potential damages or problems. Contact a qualified repair technician for any maintenance concerns. Check the furnace, oven and vent filters to ensure they are working properly and don’t possess excess debris. Replace filters as needed. Clean your HVAC system and air vents to avoid dust buildup.

Walls & Ceilings. Inspect your property’s walls and ceilings — paying special attention to the attic or crawl space — for any structural concerns, such as cracks, leaks or evidence of deterioration. Make repairs as needed. As you inspect the walls, check the property for signs of pests (e.g., droppings, nests and wood damage). If you suspect an infestation, contact a qualified pest exterminator.

Clean Appliances. Use a vacuum to remove any excess dust or debris from your refrigerator coils. Remove your washer and dryer from the wall, and clean your dryer vent to remove lint buildup, as this is highly flammable.

Plumbing. Inspect your plumbing system — paying special attention to toilets, bathtubs, showerheads, sinks and faucets — for potential cracks or leaks. Check your kitchen and bathroom drains and pipes for potential blockages. Remedy any blockages by running soap and hot water down the drain, followed by a drain cleaning product. Contact a qualified plumbing professional for any maintenance concerns.

Windows & Doors. Check all windows, screens and doors to ensure they are properly installed and sealed, looking out for cracks, chipped paint or broken glass. Make repairs as needed.

Stairwells. Maintain safe stairwells by repairing or tightening any loose steps or handrails. If the stairs aren’t carpeted, consider adding slip-resistant treads or paint. In addition, be sure that the stairwell possesses adequate lighting to reduce the risk of slips and trips.

Outdoor Safety Considerations

As summer approaches, guests will be spending more time in your backyard or outdoor spaces. If your property includes amenities or attractions like treehouses or diving platforms, you may need to take additional safety precautions. These types of amenities, while fun for vacationers, come with a higher risk that someone will be injured while using them.

Siding. Check the siding for excess moisture, chipped paint, cracks or any other damages. Make repairs as needed.

Roof. Inspect the roof for any excess debris, loose items, missing shingles, dents or any other damages. Make repairs as needed. As you inspect the roof, clean your gutters, pipes and exterior vents to remove any debris or buildup.

Trim The Trees. Trim any tree branches located near the roof to help avoid additional damage in the event of a storm. Take this time to remove any dead trees or long hanging branches near the house or driveway.

Check for Cracks. Clear the driveway, any walkways and steps of obstructions to avoid slip and trip hazards. In addition, ensure these areas are level and don’t have any cracks. Make repairs as needed.

Fence. Make sure all fencing is sturdy and in good condition. Secure all fencing with a locking gate.

Outdoor Amenities. Maintain any outdoor amenities (e.g., grills, fire pits) to avoid safety hazards. If you have a pool, keep it clean and secure it with a fence and locking gate to ensure children and pets can’t enter the area without supervision.

Outdoor Equipment. Inspect all outdoor furniture, tools and appliances for safety concerns or potential damages. Make repairs or replacements as needed. Store these items in a safe, secure location when not in use, such as a locked shed, to protect them from the risk of theft and natural elements.

Protection That Meets Your Needs

In addition to the suggestions on this checklist, be sure to find an insurance policy and secure personalized coverage that meets your unique needs. For additional short-term rental safety guidance and insurance solutions, connect with a team member today at CBIZ Vacation Rental Insurance and request a free quote today!

This blog may contain scenarios that are provided as examples only. Coverage is subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions of the policy issued. The information provided is general in nature and may be affected by changes in law or the interpretation of such laws. The reader is advised to contact a professional prior to taking any action based upon this information.

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About Us

CBIZ Vacation Rental Insurance, a division of CBIZ Insurance Services,Inc., is the largest insurer of short-term vacation rental properties in the United States. As part of an $850 million New York Stock Exchange traded company (CBZ), we are the first broker to develop specific policy coverage to meet the needs for vacation rental properties and the amenities offered by these businesses. We have insured vacation rental properties since 2002.

The CBIZ Vacation Rental Insurance team knows insurance, specifically the risks and exposures related to short-term vacation rentals.We won't confuse you with technical "insurance speak" ~ our representatives are well versed in explaining your coverage in plain English. With hands-on, personal customer service, we guarantee swift communication and a 24/7 claims team that is ready to respond to your call any time of the day. As specialist in the industry, we leverage our knowledge and passion to ensure you and your business are adequately protected.