15 Safety Tips for Tenants
Excitement, anticipation, stress. These are just a few of the emotions we experience when moving into a new home. It’s no surprise that for most of us, safety doesn’t even make it onto our to-do lists. Whatever the reason, it’s always important to consider security.
Here are 15 tips to help ensure both your personal safety and the safety of the property when converting your rental into a home.
- Change furnace filter every 2-3 months while in use. This will help maintain healthy air quality in the home, keep your energy costs down, prevent a fire hazard and extend the life of the unit.
- Ensure all windows and doors are properly secured. Place bars in the tracks of balcony and patio doors to prevent entry.
- Arrange for someone to look after your place while you’re away. Place your lamps/television on a timer ($15 at hardware store), this can deter intruders from noticing your absence.
- Get to know your neighbours, neighbours look after each other and can report anything suspicious or out of the ordinary to you.
- Test all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors monthly. This only takes minutes of your time and can prevent a disastrous situation. There should be a smoke detector on every floor of the home and one requires placement outside of the bedroom(s). It’s also smart to keep a portable fire extinguisher in your kitchen.
- Maintain adequate renters insurance. This can cover your belongings should they be damaged in an emergency and will even cover your hotel stay should your home be rendered unfit for occupancy.
- Ensure all chemicals are stored properly according to their Materials Safety Data Sheet specifications. Avoid storing flammable liquids or propane tanks inside the home.
- Keep hallways and exits unobstructed at all times. Check that exit doors open easily without the use of a key. In an emergency situation, you may only have seconds to get out of the home. Develop and practice an escape plan for you and your family in the case of an emergency.
- Keep appliances clean and free of grease build-up, as well clear out the dryer filter after every use. These are common fire hazards that could easily be prevented when maintained.
- Avoid keeping storage items in the furnace room or around the hot water tank; refrain from stacking items over air vents and/or in front of heat registers. This will prevent hazards around the appliances and allows for proper air circulation.
- Be careful not to overload electrical outlets. Avoid using multi-outlet wall taps and extension cords as a permanent solution. You may overload the circuit breaker and create a potential fire hazard.
- Ensure all bedrooms have at least two exits, a door and a window. Many basements do not have adequate sized windows to escape from in the event of a fire, avoid converting areas of the home into bedrooms that do not offer legal sized windows as per the Minimum Housing Act. Never place bars on bedroom windows.
- Remove garbage items from the home and dispose of in the appropriate bins on a weekly basis. This will reduce the chances of attracting vermin and insects into your living space.
- Clear your walk-ways, steps and decks from clutter, ice and snow. This ensures your safety and the safety of those visiting the property whom you are responsible for.
- Turn off water to exterior taps during winter months. This will prevent water freezing in the pipes and potential cracking of the water line.
Remember, both personal and property safeties are essential for maintaining your well-being and peace of mind. You and your family will be able to enjoy your new home with all it has to offer knowing that your safety and security have been taken care of.