Halloween is just around the corner, and that means fun to just about everyone, young and old alike. Everyone, that is, but landlords.
This holiday spells extra work for landlords, so it’s good to be prepared:
The increased likelihood of an apartment fire is one of the spookiest aspects of Halloween. Decorations, including candlelit pumkins or paper bags, account for nearly half of these Halloween disasters.
The National Fire Protection Association has created a tip sheet that could be helpful in educating tenants about fire dangers. Highlights include:
Avoid costumes that sweep the ground, as these are more likely to catch fire;
Candles should not be burning indoors if no one is home — even for a few minutes;
Don’t block escape routes — like windows — with decorations.
Also, hanging fabrics, like sheets used to create a “haunted house”, increases fire danger.
While firefighters will be having a busy night, police calls also will spike on Halloween. One of the common culprits: decorations or costumes that are too realistically gory. Scary costumes have caused injuries like falls, and even heart attacks. Also, provocative costumes can trigger calls, which is why the police in San Diego are asking residents to avoid wearing the “Creepy Clown” costume that has some people on edge.
The risk of robberies increases on Halloween for the obvious reason that wearing a costume that conceals a person’s identity seems perfectly normal. Residents should avoid leaving their doors and windows open while they are away, and also should be careful of strangers when hosting parties.
Halloween has yet to really catch on with many pets. Otherwise calm dogs and cats may feel threatened when confronted with costumed guests. The increased activity in the neighborhood also can stress animals, especially when they are left alone. Tenants with pets should find ways to reassure their furry family members that it’s all in good fun.
And don’t forget about injuries. Pumpkin carving is one of the most common reasons for a Halloween emergency room visit. And it’s not kids who get hurt. Tenants should not arm themselves or their guests with sharp knives. A better option is to decorate pumpkins with paint or stickers from the local arts and crafts store.
Also, tenants should avoid costumes that restrict vision or hearing as this increases the risk of a fall. Many falls occur while decorating the apartment.
It’s a good idea to remind tenants in multifamily properties that Halloween is coming up. That way, when someone sees the Grim Reaper strolling past, they’ll keep it in context and not panic. Besides, it reminds people to stock up on candy.
If you provide or allow an onsite Halloween party, post a notice ahead of time so residents who don’t want to participate can make other plans. That can cut down on the number of noise complaints.
Make sure you have your phone on at Halloween, and that tenants know how to reach you. It’s generally best to have them call you — not the police — with non-emergency Halloween concerns.
Landlord Tip: Don’t single out children at Halloween. Any rules or restrictions placed on Halloween activities must be applicable to everyone.
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Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.