Rental Safety Guidelines

According to the South Carolina Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, a property owner must “comply with the requirements of applicable building and housing codes materially affecting health and safety,” and to make repairs that uphold this obligation. In this article, we provide a list of common areas and home items that need to be checked regularly to uphold safety standards. Keep in mind, however, that safety standards vary depending on the local ordinances of cities and counties. As a result, it is always important to search for safety requirements on municipality websites during your property preparations and before renting it out to tenants. 

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

If your property does not have smoke detectors installed, it is likely to be non-compliant with safety standards, since many states have smoke alarm laws in place. These laws may also specify where the detector must be located, and require that the alarms be fully functional. If a property already has detectors, the property owner must inspect them regularly to ensure functionality. It is also important to replace batteries, as a detector with a low battery may lead to a malfunction. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends changing smoke detector batteries at least once every six months. Another common detector that states are increasingly requiring is carbon monoxide detectors. Carbon monoxide can be very difficult to identify, so it is important to uphold local requirements regarding detectors. Both smoke and carbon monoxide detectors work to save your tenants’ lives in dire situations, so be sure to check your local laws for specific details on safety regulations. 

rental safety

Doors and Locks

A properly functioning door and lock are essential to allowing tenants to remain safe while living on your property. A door that fails to remain closed allows the risk of an intrusion, while a door that fails to open allows the risk of a fire evacuation hazard. To ensure doors are secure, it is recommended to equip doors with both deadbolt locks and a lockset. If you want to provide an even more secure solution, you may decide to provide a combination of electronic locks on doors. To ensure high quality and secure hardware, you may want to entrust installation with a professional. During routine inspections, make sure to also check that each door opens smoothly; if it does not, you may need to replace the hinges or install a new door altogether. As always, check your local ordinances for more information about home security measures. 

Pest Infestation

While pesky pests are annoying, they are also unsanitary. Cockroaches, rats, mice, and other bugs and small creatures may be carriers of disease, causing your tenant’s safety to be at risk. The presence of pests can depend on how well the home is maintained, and/or the location of the property. In cases where pests are caused by climate, landlords are typically responsible for both preventing and getting rid of them. To do this, property owners may seek to use chemical measures. Using pesticides is a common way to prevent pest appearances, however, it is important to check with local laws provided by the Department of Health to determine whether they are allowed. If so, landlords should carefully choose pesticides to ensure they are registered and tested, and read directions for safely handling the chemicals. If an infestation prevails, property owners may seek extermination or fumigation services. Because both of these processes are robust and may provide the tenants with health risks, it is always important to seek a consultation with a professional and follow all specified safety guidelines they provide.  Don’t forget to check local laws for more information about pest control regulations before considering any extermination processes. 


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