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Tip #184: Trick or Treat?

Unfortunately, Halloween isn’t all fun and games.  Landlords face some real dangers this time of year, from tenant injuries to property damage.

If ever there was a time to check up on a property, it’s Halloween night.

Fire danger climbs eerily high around Halloween.  Jack-o-lanterns illuminated with candles are a serious risk to tenants and property alike. Make sure no open flames are left unattended, or placed near areas where people in costumes may be walking past.

That fire risk is compounded when the jack-o-lanterns are placed indoors, in closed-in spaces like a homemade haunted house created by hanging sheets or blankets to darken the area, or near a window with curtains.

Other Halloween risks include slip and fall accidents when residents or guests become entangled in their own costumes, snagged on stairwells or caught in elevator doors.

The most obvious problem is noise from a rowdy party — along with illegal alcohol, smoking, parking and other complaints.

Party complaints can lead to long-term disputes with other tenants, and even police intervention.

The threat of vandalism is greater, too, which may be deterred with proper lighting or extra security.

Keep things from getting out of hand by anticipating these common problems. Consider sending a preemptive email to tenants reminding them that the house rules still apply — even on Halloween.

And, hopefully, party-fatigued tenants will remember that the rent is due the next day.

See last week’s Landlord Quick Tip.

American Apartment Owners Association offers discounts on products and services for landlords related to your rental housing investment, including rental forms, tenant debt collection, tenant background checks, insurance and financing. Find out more at www.joinaaoa.org.

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