Renting out your home to others can be a great way to make money if you will be out of town for an extended period of time or if you have a second residence that you use more often. However, there’s more to it than simply finding a suitable tenant and handing over the keys. In order to prepare your home for rent, it is important to take the following precautions to ensure the safety of both your renters and your property.

Check window and door locks. Make sure that your property is fully secure by testing all of your door and window locks before you rent out your home. You may even want to install a deadbolt or a security system if you don’t already have one.

Install outdoor lighting. Check that all of your exterior lights are in working order, and install additional lighting in any area that is not well lit, such as along a pathway. Renters will not be as familiar with your yard as you are, and they may find it harder to navigate in the dark. Additionally, homes with ample lighting often deter intruders.

Buy fire extinguishers and smoke detectors. If you don’t already have them, get a smoke detector and fire extinguisher for each floor of your home. Test all smoke detectors to be sure that they are functioning properly and that their batteries are not dead. Consider installing a carbon monoxide detector as well.

Fix any plumbing leaks. Inspect your plumbing, and repair any existing issues. Small problems can often lead to much more extensive damage if left unaddressed, and the resulting water damage can lead to unhealthy mold growth.

Update old wiring. If any of your electrical wiring is outdated or damaged, your home could be at risk for an electrical fire. Make sure all of your wiring is completely up to code.

Require tenants to have renters insurance. In addition to updating your own insurance to cover the rental property, ask that your tenants purchase their own renters insurance. Then, in the unfortunate case of damage or loss, their personal belongings will be covered.

Taking the aforementioned steps can help tremendously with attracting tenants and reducing hazards. Remember that by protecting your renters, you are also protecting yourself.

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Sources: Insurance Information Institute;; U.S. News & World Report.