Managing a residential development is a major responsibility. Apart from the legal considerations of Fair Housing, the application process, and the potential for evictions, there are also some complex issues surrounding safety that should always be carefully addressed.
After all, tenants are trusting you with their lives and property. It’s a heavy burden, but it’s one that can be handled with some good planning and careful implementation.
Safety of Belongings
Your tenants have their belongings on site all day, every day. Their homes are filled with items that are valuable both financially and sentimentally, and they have an expectation that the management will ensure the safety of those items.
While most of their property can be secured with doors, locks, and windows that are in good condition, there remains the issue of items moving in and out. With so much online shopping these days, many people have very valuable items shipped to their homes on a regular basis. It can often burden the front office with so many deliveries that it’s impractical simply to tuck them under the desk.
And thanks to the growing popularity of home gourmet services that ship perishable items, you could case a very expensive box of food to spoil if you don’t have a good place to store it after delivery. The best choice is to provide parcel lockers for residents who receive these items to make sure the food remains safe until they arrive home.
Safety of Data
This topic comes up everywhere these days. When tenants apply, you gather a lot of sensitive personal information about income, past addresses, and of course, their social security numbers. Most likely you store that information on a computer, and one single hacker can access hundreds of records through your office.
Good data security is essential. Not just tough passwords and backups, but a comprehensive data security plan to keep all your data stored and protected from all the threats that attempt to get in.
At the same time, don’t neglect paper data. Make sure file cabinets are fireproof, adequately locked, and accessible only by personnel who need to get into them. And speaking of personnel, make sure you impress on all workers just how important it is to protect personal information and the liability they shoulder if they recklessly allow a breach.
Safety of People
Of course, a loss of property or data, while problematic or expensive, would at least be somewhat reversible in time. What could never be undone is an injury or death to a tenant, and that is the greatest responsibility for property managers.
There are many ways that tenants can be injured or killed on the property. You need to follow all state and local fire codes to ensure that doors are adequate, fire extinguishers are current, sprinklers are present and functional, alarm systems work, and so much more. Work with your local fire department for details.
Think of crime safety as well. Have police audit the site for lighting and visibility, and remove items that could create a hiding space for criminals.
Don’t neglect weather. Make sure that rainwater drainage systems are operative and that snow removal is handled in a timely fashion.
Property management involves a great deal of responsibility for the lives and property of others. With a good system and the right outside help, you can manage that responsibility effectively.