As the landlord of an HUD property you’ll face all of the same responsibilities that a typical property owner would encounter in regards to ongoing maintenance. However, homeowners who choose to participate in the HUD program need to be especially careful about maintaining the safety of their rental properties in order to stay eligible as a housing provider. The organization even holds an annual National Healthy Homes Conference to discuss the key elements of keeping properties safely inhabitable for tenants. With that said, here are few routine precautions you should take to ensure a HUD home is ready to be rented:
1. Paint and Water Testing
Testing a home’s water system and interior paint is extremely important to ensure a healthy living environment for residents. In fact, HUD’s Lead Safe Housing Rule requires a landlord or building manager to file a report with HUD any time a child inhabitant under the age of 6 is found to have elevated lead levels in their blood. With nearly a quarter of a million children dealing with the effects of lead poisoning in the U.S., taking this step is crucial to ensure tenant safety and to avoid any bad publicity that might arise from renting out a lead-contaminated property.
2. Mold and Pest Inspections
Although keeping a dry and clean environment is the best way to avoid mold problems, sometimes there are already hidden infestations within the home. Furthermore, an irresponsible tenant may fail to report a water damage incident or new pest infestation, so having inspections done at least once per year is the best approach. Keeping your property free from pests like bed bugs, dust mites, rodents, and roaches will not only ensure the safety of tenants, it also keeps you from having to pay for expensive eradication and extermination services.
3. Ensuring Optimal Ventilation
Poor ventilation is one of the leading causes of indoor air pollution that leads to health problems like asthma and allergies. Stagnant air also provides a prime breeding ground for the aforementioned mold and pest problems that every landlord should be trying to avoid. New building regulations have introduced a formula that serves as a rule of thumb for designing home ventilation systems – 7.5 CFM/person + 3 CFM/100 sq ft.
4. Fire Proofing
Finally, although using fire-resistant building materials is preferable everywhere, it’s a particularly important concern in states that are prone to hot, dry weather conditions conducive to a high number of fires. In addition to considering materials, it’s also important to equip the home with adequate fire extinguishing, alarm, and/or roof sprinkler systems.
The Importance of Maintaining Healthy Housing as a HUD Property Owner
In conclusion, while taking the above steps might not seem necessary if the property you’ve purchased is a relatively new home, there are cases where even recently built structures aren’t well-maintained or constructed in adherence with health and safety codes. Thus, it’s imperative that you take the initiative to conduct the above acts of due diligence regardless of how much assurance the seller or their agent has given.