Renting out your property to a young family can present a whole new set of challenges for you as the landlord to ‘child-proof’ your property and agree with your prospective tenants what alterations they can make to your property to keep their children safe and sound.
Take a look around
When you take a quick glance through the property, what do you see? Is it decorated for an adult or a child? On the one hand, carpets give extra padding for young children if they stumble and fall, but there is an increased risk of drink spills and increased carpet wear and tear.
If your property is furnished, do you have any furniture with glass inserts or sharp corners, or do you see a lot of breakables throughout the property? If so, now’s the time to remove them. You should try to get rid of any furniture that could be hazardous to a young child and this includes glass top tables and anything with protruding edges. Or at least allow your tenant to place certain furniture items in storage for the duration of the tenancy if they are likely to cause issues.
If you have bookcases in the property, you may want to consider installing wall brackets to secure the bookcase to the wall to prevent it being tipped over. If you give the tenant permission, make sure it’s in the tenancy agreement with a clause to ‘make good’ at the end of the tenancy.
Lots of locks
When you have children in the property, it’s going to be important for your tenants to keep all cleaning or medicinal products locked away in a cabinet and/or out of reach, which may require additional child locks being added to kitchen or bathroom cupboards. If the tenant adds these items with your permission, make sure it’s noted in the tenancy agreement, and add a clause to request the tenant removes the locks at the end of the tenancy and ‘makes good’ if you plan to rent to non-families in the future.
If there is an area of the property or a specific room that the children are not permitted in, a child gate may be added to doorways or top/bottom of the stairs to prevent them causing themselves harm. This may cause damage additional wear and possible damage to the paintwork, so make sure these areas are highlighted to the tenants before the end of their tenancy so they can attend to any maintenance, and check these areas when the tenants vacate the property.
Your tenants may want to fit extra window guard locks to children’s bedroom windows for extra safety. Make sure your tenants get permission for this and check it’s not been fitted to any emergency exit windows.
Do not touch
All electrical outlets should be covered with outlet covers (which can be supplied and fitted by the tenant) and any small items/knick knacks, including marbles and coins, should be removed from the property prior to the tenancy.
If your radiators have a tendency to get very hot to touch, you may want to consider installing radiator covers in some rooms, or at least make sure the tenants are aware of the radiator temperature and encourage them to turn the radiators down as necessary.
If you have a property which runs on natural gas or you have an attached garage, you should consider installing a carbon monoxide detector in the property. This is critical if you have a gas boiler installed in any bedroom space.
If you don’t already have a fire extinguisher or fire blanket in your property, you may want to consider adding these items for fire safety. Make sure they are checked and maintained regularly. Also make sure your smoke detectors are regularly checked and the batteries replaced.
Safety at play
Think about the outside areas of the property, to make sure that the environment is a safe one. The garden or yard should be completely fenced with a locked gate to prevent children from wandering out into the street. Make sure any loose flags or floor tiles are maintained and any harmful garden items such as garden tools or fertiliser are kept in a locked shed or outhouse. Any outside lighting should be fully maintained so the main walkways are well lit.
If you require any further tips or advice, why not get in contact with your local Martin & Co branch who would be happy to help.