Fire pits are a modern piece in many backyards. While fire pits can be fun, they can likewise pose some grave risks. These risks should make any Austin rental property owner think twice before letting one at their property. It’s good for tenant relations to promote the enjoyment of the home, and this includes allowing renters to personalize their indoor and outdoor living spaces – to a certain point.
Before you say yes to a fire pit request, be sure to have all the information you need to make an informed decision. In what follows, we’ll discuss some of the pros and cons of allowing fire pits on your rental properties, as well as a few key things to acknowledge before responding to a tenant’s request for one.
It’s Just Good Business
Possibly the most pressing reason to allow a fire pit at your rental is that it will probably make your tenant happy. And happy tenants are good for your business. Productive communication is the foundation of owning successful rental properties. Of course, you also want to set clear limits for your tenant not to try to take advantage of your goodwill. Still, if a fire pit in the backyard will probably keep them in your rental longer, it may be worth reconsidering.
Of course, every situation is unique, so it’s necessary to understand the risks that come with residential fire pits – and that these risks may vary depending on who your tenant is and where your rental is located. Sadly, about 5,000 Americans are injured every year by propane, charcoal, or wood-burning fires.
Thanks to the popularity of fire pits, people damaged particularly by outdoor fireplaces and fire pits tripled in just six years. Fires can become out of control very quickly, posing additional risks to your property as well as the occupants. There’s no guarantee that your tenant will know basic fire safety, nor that they will use good judgment around the open flames in their fire pit.
What is more, some places have regulations that restrict outdoor fire pits entirely or allow them only under certain conditions. It’s vital to research these regulations in your particular city, county, and state before allowing a fire pit to be installed at your rental home.
More to Consider
Regardless of the risks, it is important to note that correctly setting up and handling a fire pit can help minimize them. If you feel that your tenant is responsible enough to observe proper safety guidelines, you might consider agreeing to a fire pit if certain conditions are met. For example, you’ll want to gather specific details about what kind of fire pit they want, as well as how and where it will be installed on the property. Your property’s curb appeal is important to your property values, including your ability to rent the property again in the future. You’ll want to make sure that the fire pit is not an eyesore or causing damage to your yard, patio, or home – the fire pit is placed too close to the siding, for instance.
Also, a responsible tenant should still be instructed in fire pit safety, which you can do yourself. Consider sharing information with them or signing an addendum to the lease that attests to their fire pit safety know-how.
Finally, be sure to check with your insurance carrier about any possible effect allowing a fire pit may have on your coverage and rates. If you don’t, and your property is damaged, you may not be covered for the repairs. Your tenant should also have their own renter’s insurance that covers fire-related injuries and damage.
Deciding whether to allow a fire pit at your rental or not might take a bit of effort, but it’s important to have all the facts before you do so. However, if you’d rather spend your time on other tasks, Real Property Management Lonestar can help. Our Austin property management professionals can help you handle all of your tenant’s requests and provide valuable advice and information you need to not only keep your tenants (and your property) safe but also profitable. Contact us today to learn more about the services we offer.
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