Feb 17, 2020
Think Safety When Renting a Winter Skiing Property
Many of your investor friends have put their money into rental properties located in Mediterranean and Indian Ocean destinations. You have gone another route. You have decided to invest in ski chalets that skiers look to rent during the winter months. You are tapping into a market it just isn't as popular as the sun and surf market. Good for you.
Understand that all rental properties present some level of liability risk. As a landlord, it is your responsibility to make sure your properties meet all safety mandates under the law. Then you want to go one step further by making your properties even safer. Doing so is the best way to limit your liability exposure.
You owe it to yourself and your renters to think safety. Adopting a safety-first mindset allows you to see a property from a different angle. It will help you recognise potential hazards and encourage you to address those hazards before they cause problems. There are a few examples in the following paragraphs to illustrate the point.
Slips, Trips and Falls
In the world of personal injury claims, nothing is quite as common as the slip, trip, and fall claim. Such claims make up a sizeable percentage of personal injury litigation. Slip, trip and fall claims are just as their name suggests: claims made by people who injured themselves after slipping or tripping and falling to the ground.
You have to think of these sorts of things as a landlord. How will you handle snow and ice around your home? Will you hire a contractor to keep walkways and drives clear? Will you combine professional property management and grit salt to keep slippery conditions at bay? The last thing you want is to have one of your guests slip and break a leg without ever getting on the slopes.
The same principles apply indoors. In light of that, make a point of ensuring that your properties are uncluttered at all times. Make sure there is adequate lighting in every room.
Fire and Carbon Monoxide
After personal injury risks come the risks associated with fire and carbon monoxide poisoning. Given your investment in winter skiing properties, your risks here are very real. Heating units can cause all sorts of problems when they are not working properly. Moreover, properties with fireplaces and wood stoves present even more risk.
Are your properties equipped with smoke and carbon monoxide detectors? Are those detectors tested and certified on a regular basis? Finally, have you come up with an evacuation plan and posted it in a conspicuous place in each of your properties? If you answered 'no' to any of these questions, it is time to change things.
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors save lives. Given that a person can be overcome by either one in a matter of minutes, an early warning by way of a detector alarm can easily mean the difference between life and death. That is how important smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are.
One final note about fire and carbon monoxide safety: your rental property should be equipped with fire extinguishers. How many do you need? Enough that guests do not have to go in search of a fire extinguisher should one ever be needed.
Child Safety Concerns
As a landlord, you are likely to encounter families looking to rent from you. Renting to families opens up an entirely new arena of safety concerns. It is an arena populated by children. And as you know, children have a knack of hurting themselves in the most unlikely ways.
You cannot possibly make your rental properties completely childproof, but you can make them mostly childproof. Stairs can be guarded with child gates that prevent the little ones from falling down. Electrical outlets can be covered with plastic protectors. You can cover sharp furniture edges with plastic edge protectors as well.
Cupboards containing cleaning solutions and other potential poisons should be lockable. If your properties offer hot tubs or swimming pools, the facilities should be enclosed in such a way as to prevent children from accessing them without adult assistance. An automatic pool alarm is also a good idea.
First Aid Considerations
This final tip is one you do not hear much about. It involves thinking about first aid and ways you can help guests be safer. A first aid mindset dictates stocking each of your rental properties with at least a basic first aid kit. A larger first aid kit with supplies uniquely appropriate to a skiing environment might be what you're after.
An automated external defibrillator would be a good investment on your part as well. Also known as AEDs, these small but powerful devices are more than capable of restarting a stopped heart. Best of all, your guests do not need to have any formal training to use an AED.
You have invested quite a bit of money in your winter skiing properties. Now take things one step further and make those properties as safe as they can be. You and your renters will be better off for it.