Ghost, ghouls, and goblins–beware! Your property is ready for any of the scares they might try to bring your way this Halloween night–or at least, it will be, assuming you take a few steps before trick-or-treaters hit the streets.
Here are 7 Halloween safety tips for rental properties and homeowners associations.
Halloween Safety Tips for Rental Properties & HOAs: #1
Tidy Up the Landscaping
Be sure to walk the property and pick up any branches that may have fallen, roots that children could easily trip over, or other debris that might get in the way of trick-or-treaters trying to make their way to the front door. Trim any overgrown hedges, mow the lawn one last time for the season, and rake up dead leaves. All of these tasks will make your property safer on Halloween night–and they’re tasks that are likely already on your fall maintenance checklist.
Halloween Safety Tips for Rental Properties & HOAs: #2
Ensure the Property is Well-Lit
Outdoor bulbs should be replaced and lighting should be installed along the most likely traveled path of youngsters. For instance, your residents may typically enter through a garage or back door; but on Halloween, children are likely to head to the front entrance. Consider installing motion-sensing lights to enhance visibility for costumed guests. This will also reduce the likelihood of vandalism and mischief.
Be sure to check the lighting in the parking lot as well. Here’s a little known fact: Children are twice as likely to be hit by a car on Halloween than any other time of the year. You should also remind residents to drive slowly around the neighborhood on Halloween. Always check twice for kiddos!
Halloween Safety Tips for Rental Properties & HOAs: #3
Secure Loose Railings, Steps & Pavers
If you’ve ever stumbled over a loose stair or brick at your property, just imagine what it will feel like for an excited child fiddling with a costume. Now is a good time to take care of these small maintenance repairs before they turn into bigger issues. Not only will this protect trick-or-treaters, but it will improve safety for your residents on the whole.
Halloween Safety Tips for Rental Properties & HOAs: #4
Lock Doors, Garages & Gates
Take care to prevent access to unauthorized areas on Halloween. This is particularly true for landlords or HOAs who have vacant properties, since intruders will be less obvious to observers on Halloween night. At larger apartment communities, you may want to ask neighbors to keep an eye out on vacant properties as an extra precaution.
Halloween Safety Tips for Rental Properties & HOAs: #5
Leave a Bowl of Candy Out
If one of your rentals is vacant, consider leaving a front porch light on with a bowl of candy outside. Even though there might not be someone there to answer the doorbell each time it rings, the outdoor light and bowl of candy will help to ward off pranksters or disgruntled teens who were hoping to receive a treat.
Halloween Safety Tips for Rental Properties & HOAs: #6
Keep Pets Indoors
While it’s tempting for residents to have their pets join them in handing out candy, some children can be easily scared by animals–and vice versa: Even the friendliest animals can become skittish around children in costumes. Keep everyone safe by asking residents to bring their pets inside for the night. This will prevent any erratic behavior that could scare or injure a trick-or-treater.
Halloween Safety Tips for Rental Properties & HOAs: #7
Focus on Fire Safety
On one hand, it’s great to encourage residents to celebrate Halloween. Festivities can help an apartment building feel more like home! On the other hand, some residents may be tempted to show off their jack-o’-lanterns by lighting the pumpkins with candles. Remind residents to keep candlelit pumpkins and any other open flames away from doorsteps, walkways and other landings that may be in the path of trick-or-treaters. If someone accidentally knocks over a pumpkin, the flame could ignite nearby leaves or clothing and cause a fire. That’s one scare you’ll want to avoid on Halloween night!
After the pirates and ballerinas have retired for the season, encourage residents to help do a clean-sweep of the property. Pick up any candy wrappers or other items that were dropped by trick-or-treaters; repair any accidental damage; and start putting away Halloween decorations.
While property owners and managers have a heightened responsibility during this time, these Halloween safety tips for rental properties and HOAs will ensure that everyone has fun during this year’s festivities.
Amanda Maher is a self-proclaimed policy wonk who dabbles in real estate law. Amanda holds a B.S. in Political Science and Sociology from Boston University, as well as a Masters in Urban and Regional Policy from Northeastern.