Temperatures are dropping, and if there is one thing a landlord should do this time of year, it’s take extra precautions to prevent slips, trips and falls on their property. Premises liability law requires property owners to take the initiative and provide as safe an environment possible for tenants and their guests. Failure to do so can result in legal action says Cal Bay Property Management’s Scott Safadi. To prevent injury and resulting lawsuits, add these chores to your to do list:
- Inspect railings. When a person finds themselves slipping down a stairway, their first instinct is to grab onto a railing. After all, that’s what it is there for, right? Unfortunately, though, some accident victims find themselves clutching at railings that have not been well-maintained. Property owners and managers should do seasonal checks of their stairwells to ensure that they will not give out under the weight of falling accident victims.
- Texturize your walkways. Even in warmer climates, winter can sneak up on property owners. Whether you live in California or Maine, your property could do with a little de-icing. Add texture to your walkways, whether in the form of salt, anti-slip tape or sand.
- Declutter your property. After a busy fall, it is easy to overlook the chores that might have gone unfinished around your rental property. Leaves that have gone unraked, branches that litter the ground and shrubs that have become overgrown all create very real trip hazards for your tenants. Take the time to clean up these branches and shrubs to prevent any serious trips or falls.
- Pick up debris. Beyond shrubs and branches, even leaves can cause an unsuspecting tenants to slip and fall. Through crisp when they first fall from the tree, autumn leaves can become slick and slimy when rain falls. Have your grounds crew do their part to prevent accidents and clear leaves as soon as possible.
There is no surefire way to prevent every slip, trip or fall on your property, but with a bit of foresight, you can ensure the most obvious hazards are taken care of before the coldest months hit. Your residents will certainly appreciate it, and you’ll protect yourself from legal action should an accident occur.
– Scott Safadi, Cal Bay Property Management