Summer Fire Risks on Rental Properties

Aside from the responsibilities that nearly all landlords have in common, such as collecting rent and maintaining livability standards on their property, there are some tasks that are specific to the season and the type of weather you receive in your region. Summer tends to be the hottest time of year just about everywhere in the U.S. However, some areas are at a much higher risk of fire danger based on a variety of environmental factors. If you live in a state that has high summer fire risks, it’s important to take the proper steps as a landlord to keep your tenants safe from fire (though your tenants have some responsibility in this regard as well).

How to Prevent Fire This Summer

The environmental changes that summer brings aren’t the only reason why some places are at greater risk of fires during the summer. 

This season is also the time of year when more residents are using outdoor grills and BBQs, backyard firepits, and fireworks to celebrate the summer holidays and enjoy the warm weather with friends and family.

What are some of the most common fire risks for landlords to look out for? Let’s take a look at a few of these risks and how landlords can help to reduce them for their tenants during the summertime.

Summer Fire Risks

Grills

With lots of backyard gatherings happening in the summer, the grill on your rental property is bound to be used much more than it might be during the colder months of the year. Every grill is different, so it’s important to make sure your tenants understand how to properly clean the grill in between uses and prepare it for safe operation.

In addition to communicating with your tenants about correct grill use, make sure the grill on your property is located three or more feet away from the home and maintains enough space away from any trees, shrubs, or other plant life. 

If your property is a short-term rental, thoroughly inspect and clean out your grill between guests to make sure it’s free of debris or damage and ready for use.

Are Gas Grills More Dangerous?

Though gas grills tend to be cheaper to buy and operate than coal or wood-burning grills, they present their own problems to landlords and their tenants. Gas can build up and cause an explosion when a grill’s ignition isn’t working properly.

Additionally, if the propane tank’s pressure valve isn’t creating proper ventilation, the smallest spark of a lighter or cigarette could create a dangerous reaction. If your property has a gas grill, make sure you’re especially aware of all of the potential dangers and make them clear to your tenants.

Fire Pits

Fire pits can be used for roasting tasty treats like s’mores or simply sitting around and enjoying the company of friends and family on a summer night. However, as with any device that uses fire, it’s very important that your rental property tenants understand how to use the fire pit with care.

If your fire pit is portable, make sure your tenants understand that the fire pit needs to be placed on level ground before use. Additionally, the fire pit should be kept a safe distance away from low-hanging tree branches, wooden outdoor furniture, and buildings so no flying sparks could reach them.

Depending on whether your fire pit uses wood or is gas-powered, make sure your tenants understand how to start and extinguish fires as well as how to keep the fire pit clean between uses. Keeping the area well-lit with lanterns or string lights is also a good idea to allow tenants and their guests to clearly see their path around the firepit.

Fireworks

Most people understand that using fireworks comes with a relatively high level of risk, especially if they’re being lit in a rural or forested area with a great deal of plant life around.

Despite this common knowledge, it’s still important to have a clear conversation with your tenants about fireworks. Let them know where and when fireworks are allowed. If fireworks are banned in your city or state, make sure to communicate this to your tenants so they understand the consequences of using fireworks.

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