Essential Holiday Safety Guidelines for Landlords and Tenants
Residential Property Management

Essential Holiday Safety Guidelines for Landlords and Tenants

As the holiday season unfolds, it brings with it the joy of gifting and the sparkle of festive decorations.

However, this time of the year also necessitates extra vigilance to mitigate the heightened risks of fire, theft, accidents, and other hazards. As a landlord, it's your responsibility to ensure a safe environment for your tenants and remind them of the safety regulations detailed in their lease agreements, especially those pertaining to decorations and outdoor lights.

Decorative Holiday Lights

To create a festive atmosphere safely, heed the guidance from Pepco and the Consumer Product Safety Commission:

  • Ensure that any lights and extension cords used outdoors are specifically designed for outdoor use and plugged into a GFCI outlet.
  • Inspect all lights and cords for any signs of damage, including broken sockets, frayed wires, or loose connections. Discard or replace any faulty sets immediately.
  • Verify that the lights have been tested and certified by an independent laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratory (UL).
  • Avoid overloading an electric outlet or extension cord by connecting no more than three strings of lights.
  • When installing outdoor roof decorations, remind tenants to prioritize safety to avoid injuries or property damage. Discourage tenants from walking or climbing on the roof and advise them to exercise caution when using ladders.

Holiday Trees

The National Fire Protection Association highlights that Christmas trees are the cause of over 200 fires annually. To minimize the fire risk:

  • Opt for a fresh, green tree or an artificial one marked as fire retardant.
  • Ensure the tree is placed at a safe distance (at least three feet) from fireplaces, radiators, candles, and other heat sources.
  • Water fresh trees daily.
  • Follow the same recommendations for lights as mentioned above.
  • Switch off or unplug tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.
  • Dispose of trees promptly once they begin to dry out and shed needles.

Candles

  • Avoid using candles near evergreens or other greenery.
  • Never leave candles unattended.
  • Consider opting for battery-operated candles as part of your decorations.

Preventing Theft

During the holiday season, thieves may be on the lookout for homes laden with valuable gifts. Encourage tenants to keep gifts out of sight from windows and to dispose of boxes from expensive items discreetly. The D.C. Metropolitan Police Department recommends breaking down boxes, concealing them in trash bags, and only putting them outside the night before trash collection.

Recommend tenants to use light timers and pause mail and newspaper deliveries when they're away. Also, remind tenants to inform you if they'll be absent for an extended period.

Safety Equipment

The holiday season, with its added risks, calls for extra safety checks. Ensure all carbon monoxide and smoke detectors are functioning correctly, and inspect, replace or refill fire extinguishers as necessary.


In conclusion, the holiday season, while filled with joy and celebration, requires an extra layer of precautionary measures to ensure the safety of everyone. As a property owner, it's essential to communicate these safety tips to your tenants and ensure that they are well-informed about potential hazards. This proactive approach not only helps to prevent accidents but also promotes a pleasant living environment for your tenants. Remember, a safe holiday season is a happy holiday season.

For more guidance and property management services, consider partnering with Gordon James Realty. With our expertise and commitment to excellence, we aim to make property management smoother, safer, and more profitable for you.

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