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Fireplace Considerations for Rental Property Owners

It’s well-known that apartments and rental properties that include fireplaces are sought after by many people looking to rent. That’s the renter side of it. The landlord/property manager side has to take more into account than how enjoyable a fireplace is.

Here are some fireplace considerations if you own or manage a rental property.

Electric fireplace, normal alabamaElectric fireplaces

If you haven’t yet installed a fireplace but are thinking about it, think about adding an electric unit rather than a flame-based gas or wood fireplace. Modern electric fireplaces come in many beautiful styles and designs, making them easy to fit into any décor scheme and satisfy most renters.

Bottom line: how will a fireplace affect insurance?

Before installing a fireplace, check with your insurance provider to see how it will affect your premiums. You’ll likely pay more to cover units with active fireplaces that run on wood or gas because of the higher chance of fire.

Regular cleaning and inspection

If your rental units already have fireplaces, it’s your job to make sure the appliances are safe. The best way to do this is to schedule annual chimney sweeping and inspection services with a licensed, CSIA-certified chimney technician or company. Chimney sweeping removes flammable creosote and drafting obstructions. Inspections alert you to early signs of problems so you can get them fixed.

Train your tenants

Before you turn over an apartment or rental home to a new tenant, make sure the tenant knows how to use the fireplace. You might want to go over the appliance’s owner’s manual yourself so you can properly educate the tenant.

Basics to cover include:

  • Burn nothing but wood in the fireplace
  • Don’t use lighter fluid or other accelerants to get fires started
  • Don’t put excess wood in the firebox
  • Burn dry (seasoned) wood only – it creates much less smoke than damp (unseasoned) wood
  • Never leave fires unattended
  • Know who to contact at the first sign of fireplace/chimney damage or malfunction

Add a fire extinguisher

Every unit with a fireplace should have a working fire extinguisher – and the tenant(s) should know how to use it.

Monitors for smoke and carbon monoxide

Units with fireplaces need active smoke detectors and carbon monoxide monitors. You should check these devices annually and keep fresh batteries in them.

Modify the lease

In your written lease, make it clear what fireplace maintenance activities you, the landlord or manager, will be responsible for and what will be required of the tenant(s).

chimney inspection, bedford county, tnPerform periodic basic inspections

Your renter(s) should be prepared for you to personally do a basic visual inspection of the fireplace every six months or so. Check your local laws to determine what kind of advance notice is required for you to enter a rental space.

These guidelines will remove much of the hassle and potential problems of having gas or wood fireplaces in rental units you own or manage. Safety for tenants as well as the prevention of structural damage are always paramount concerns for rental property owners and managers.

A1 Chimney Specialist of Winchester, TN, and Huntsville, AL, regularly works with property owners to help them keep their fireplaces and chimneys clean, safe and fully operational. We provide CSIA-certified chimney sweeping, chimney and fireplace inspections and all types of repair work. Call us at (931) 967-3595 in the Winchester area or (256) 285-4895 in and around Huntsville.