Are your facilities putting you at risk? How to reduce vulnerabilities by managing everyday facility issues As a property manager, you wear a ton of hats. You’re expected to be a salesperson, facility manager, paralegal, accountant, and more. That broad scope of job responsibilities leaves you vulnerable to tenant injuries, legal issues, and environmental risks. So, how can you recognize vulnerabilities and minimize their impact so that your tenants stay safe and happy? Let’s take a look at these three threats in more detail to discover ways to mitigate each risk and ensure your properties are effectively and safely managed.
Preventing tenant injuries:
As a property manager, your tenants’ safety should be at the forefront of your concerns. Injury to a tenant resulting from damaged buildings, property, or equipment could lead to disgruntled tenants, unfavorable social media postings or even a lawsuit. To promote tenant satisfaction and safety while reducing the risk of injury and liability:
• Ensure all doors are solid wood or steel. • Reinforce windows with shatterproof glass panels. • Check that all entrance doors have deadbolt locks, and that these locks are changed for every new tenant. • Get adequate lighting for all dimly lit areas in buildings or on the property. • Make sure smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in every unit and that they all function properly. Performing an annual check on these is crucial for tenant safety. • Explicitly state in the lease agreement that there is a zero tolerance policy for criminal activity or harassment. This will ensure crime is kept to a minimum in your properties. • Respond to all maintenance repairs in a timely manner and double check that all repairs are done properly.
Dismissing potential problem tenants
It’s important that all of your tenants are the right fit for your property, as this will increase the likelihood of tenants renewing their lease. In order to achieve this, you should screen all prospective candidates prior to signing the lease. Make sure you conduct the following assessments:
• Credit history: By performing a credit check on a prospective tenant, you can uncover current debt they have, any missed payments on previous and current loans, as well as their rental history. This information will give you a good idea of whether or not they will be able to pay their rent in full and on time. • Background check: Like stated above, keeping criminal activity to a minimum is very important to your tenants’ safety. So, running a background check is important to increase the likelihood of tenants abiding by the safety standards in your properties.
Keep in mind that if you deny tenants for reasons other than the ones listed above, you could be leaving yourself open for a tenant discrimination lawsuit.
Reducing your environmental impact
It’s every organization’s responsibility to keep environmental contamination and waste to a minimum, but it’s an even bigger task for property managers because you are responsible for all of your tenants’ waste as well. For instance, if one of your tenants is an automotive shop and they are disposing dirty car oil on your property’s grass, then you are liable for this. Be aware of the following pollutants:
• Contaminated water or soil from a chemical/oil leak or spill. • Trash accumulation in ponds, parking lots, or grassy areas. • Tenant contamination, like the automotive shop mentioned above. Another example might be a tenant that smokes in their apartment and affects other tenants’ living spaces. • Leaking storage tanks. These can often lead to underground contamination. Make sure you are checking on these and replacing them if they are too old. • Asbestos, mold, and lead based paint. These can all be found inside your units, so keep these environmental concerns at a minimum to protect your tenants.
If you are already taking care of these three threats, then great job! But if you see a few items that you know are persistent problems with your properties, it’s time to address them and reduce your company’s vulnerabilities. Facilities management (FM) software, like FMX, can help tenants report issues on your property grounds when they see them to reduce the risk of injury to occupants. And you can say goodbye to the issue of your maintenance team forgetting a tenant’s request; everything can be tracked in FMX so that nothing falls through the cracks again. It can even help you schedule preventive maintenance tasks days, weeks, or months in advance to ensure you are keeping up with your environmental due diligence.