If you rent out apartments, duplexes, or any other type of living space, you may be considering whether or not adding some type of fireplace is a good option. Fireplaces, inserts, and the like are known to increase the value of any property, which means you’d be able to charge more for rent, and your units would be a lot more desirable to potential renters. Not to mention, it’ll save on heating costs, and it offers a back-up source of heat for tenants, too.
On the other hand, fireplaces require a lot of extra time and maintenance from you as a landlord, and if your tenant doesn’t know how to properly work the system, there will be an increased risk of fire, smoke inhalation, or potential gas leaks, as well.
Obviously, there are lots of pros and cons to explore, but if you do make the ultimate decision to add a fireplace to your rental space, there are some things you should keep in mind as you move forward with this process. And be sure to weigh all of your options really carefully before making any final commitments! Still have questions? Call on us – the Chimney Doctor team is always willing to help you out.
Look Into How Your Insurance May Be Affected
Fireplaces carry with them a lot of liability, as you’re more prone to experience a number of disasters, such as fires, carbon monoxide leaks, exposure to harmful gases, and more. Check with your insurance company to see how costs might go up if you have a fireplace installed, and make good and sure it is worth the extra income you’ll end upbringing in. If you’re not going to wind up making much more money in the long run, then it’s probably not the best route.
Put Annual Maintenance On Your Calendar
The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), the National Fireplace Institute (NFI), and most manufacturers recommend investing in fireplace and chimney inspections or services at least once every year, and when it comes to renting out property, this is definitely something you won’t want to neglect. By hiring a certified technician to do a thorough overview, you can ensure the safety of your systems are readily assured, and if any damages are present, repaired on a regular basis to avoid more costly repairs or damages.
Failing to get this maintenance done can result in dangerous fumes and smoke entering the home, and it increases the likelihood of a structure fire occurring, as well. All in all, it isn’t worth putting the lives of your renters or the wellbeing of your property at stake! If you have fireplaces on your property, take this extra step and get them checked out once a year or more – it’s well worth it!
Require That Renters Agree To Certain Conditions
If someone chooses to rent a space with a fireplace, then it may be wise, as the landlord, to include some extra conditions in the rental contract. First of all, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to require them to sign up for renter’s insurance. This is really a great way to ensure they are protected just in case something would happen that is their fault.
It’s also advised to let renters know that they should contact you immediately if something seems faulty or dangerous with their fireplace, and their responsibilities regarding the unit should be made very clear in the rental agreement. Some landlords even require that their tenants receive a tutorial on proper usage and maintenance before the contract can be signed.
Check Your Detectors & Fire Extinguishers
If you’ve owned properties for a while, then you know that smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire extinguishers should always be present in each rental unit. This is especially important for places with fireplaces as the risk of leaks and house fires is increased. Make sure all the devices you have in place are up-to-date and working properly. It’s also a must to regularly check the batteries and replace them, as needed.
Keep An Operational Manual In The Unit/Apartment/Condo
Even if you run through the fireplace’s operation manual with your tenant beforehand, it’s a good idea to keep a copy of it in the unit, as well, just in case. This ensures the renters have easy access to any information they might need, and it minimizes the risk of a serious accident occurring. We also suggest keeping your information, as well as emergency contact numbers in or near the manual, so that you or authorities can be alerted at the first sign of trouble.
Along with this, keep a safety sheet in the unit, stating various escape routes, as well as proper procedures should a fire or gas leak occur. This could save valuable time for those renting, further guaranteeing their safety, and it helps ensure your property gets the attention it needs as soon as possible in the event of an emergency.
Always Work With A Professional
Whether you need a new fireplace installed in one of your properties, repairs administered, a chimney cleaning scheduled, or something else, the most important thing to remember is to trust in a professional for it all. At The Chimney Doctor, we are certified with the CSIA and the NFI, and we’re members of the NCSG. We’re also BBB accredited, and we have years worth of experience under our belts, so you can bet we’re qualified to help with it all.
This is one area where do-it-yourself options never work out and skimping on care can really put you and others at risk. Don’t take any chances! Hire the best from the very start. Our crew is standing by!