The Holiday Season is Upon Us

Also, know as one of the most dangerous times of year for rental properties

Ah, the holiday season, Christmas trees, lights, baking, cooking massive meals, and of course let’s not forget all those lovely scented candles. It truly is a magical time of year for most of us, that is until you lose a rental property to fire.

Let There Be Light

Your tenants may hang lights on the walls inside your home, on the eaves, gutters, even the roof of your rental homes. Many property owners and tenants alike fail to fully understand the dangers that come with all of those pretty twinkling lights, candles, and numerous other decorations. Then, of course, there are those lovely real Christmas trees that dry out and turn into literal firebombs. Of all the dangers, dry trees and burning candles are considered to present the biggest danger.

This being said, the number of Christmas tree fires today is very small compared to say a century ago. Approximately 230 homes are destroyed by fires caused by Christmas trees each year according to numbers reported by U.S. fire departments. If you have never seen how fast a Christmas tree can go up, take a look at this video.

You Can’t Ban Christmas

Well, no one wants to ban Christmas, let alone Christmas trees, lights, and so forth. However, there are some restrictions you can put in place to protect both your rental property and your tenants. While it may not be very popular you can restrict the use of live Christmas trees and tell your tenants they are not permitted to hang lights on the outside of the home.

But, who wants to be a “Scrooge” at Christmas? Instead of banning things, you will find it much easier to provide your tenants with a few safety reminders and tips in the form of a Christmas Newsletter. You can print it out and send it through the mail, create it as an email and deliver it electronically, or do both.

Use the newsletter to thank your tenants and let them know you really do appreciate them. If you have any end of year news, this is a great way to let them know about it. At the same time, this is the perfect time to put together a Christmas safety checklist and a list of ways they can still have their tree and decorations while still doing so safely.

Things to include might be:

  • Keeping a real tree watered using a sugar and lemon water or lemon-lime soda to keep it alive throughout the season.
  • Not leaving home with any indoor holiday lights left turned on.
  • Not allowing children to have lighted candles without constant supervision.
  • Never place candles near real Christmas trees.
  • Fully inspect and test lights and illuminated decorations each year before using them.
  • Replace all standard light bulbs with LEDs that burn much cooler.

This is only a small sampling of the tips you can pass along to your tenants, more can be found at the National Fire Protection Association website. Remember, it’s not just about your rental property, it’s about the lives of your tenants as well.