Is Your Property Safe? Take the Challenge -- A 75-Point Safety Checklist

Many of us are concerned by fly-by-night owners who are not invested in their properties beyond the mere numbers of it. Some fear a race to the bottom on price and quality.

One of the tools in our quiver is to make this a race to the top, to up our game, raise the standards. Making – and keeping – your property safe has got to be part of that race to the top.

I am not affiliated with Breezeway; I a not compensated to make this post or express my views. Justin Ford at Breezeway gave me permission to post this. I heard of them a few months ago from Proper insurance, which gives a 5% premium discount for satisfying Breezeway’s 18-point checklist.

Going through the checklist process itself was helpful to me. The only thing I hadn’t done then was have the information card (though it was in our House Manual). I was inspired to put it on the refrigerator where local firefighters here advise as often the most practical place.

I’m now challenged to go through this 75-point checklist and the very first one, having your home inspected by a home inspector now and every five years, has been on my ‘to do’ list.

You might not agree with everything here or have some suggestions for Breezeway. Knowing this group you’ll provide valuable validations here as well as helpful additions, caveats and I expect a lively debate on one point or another.

For those who’ve taken a look, to jump start a dialog here;

What are your best takeaways from this checklist?
How would you add to it to make it more valuable?
Which of the checklist items do you have reservations about or outright disagreements?

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Since we just had an electrical panel relocated in our own home during renovation, I can say for sure that the local building inspectors require electrical panels to be accessible, and it is illegal to lock panels to prevent access.

Electrical panels must have 36 inches of open space in front of them and cannot be covered up by a big heavy piece of furniture, such as a tall chest of drawers.

However it is completely OK where I live to cover up an electrical panel with a hanging decorative textile or light picture or mirror that can be quickly removed.

I provide my guests with a Guide Book. There is a “troubleshooting guide” in the Guide Book where I explain how to safely flip a circuit breaker. They’re told to call us first so we can do it, but since I know people are going to do things I might as well tell them how to do it right. That means keeping your face away and using a dry wooden spoon to flip the breaker.

Well…Proper Insurance’s underwriters gave me trouble because I provide breakfast items for my guests such as coffee, tea, orange juice store bought pastry and cereal. All in new unopened packages. They did not like this.

They also wanted me to add fencing to prevent guests from climbing on top of the roof of the cottage. Our topography does make climbing onto the roof humanely possible, assuming you’re a strong physical specimen. But fencing it off would not be possible without serious aesthetic damage.

So I switched to Steadily, an online insurance broker, and I now have two properties insured through them. My cottage is insured with Travelers which is a terrific company.

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Yes, Travelers has a great reputation (based on what I knew years ago).

Interesting that we have Proper and they didn’t ask me what I provide. I do provide tea, some coffee and actually sugar in a glass jar, although as I am writing this I might rethink the practice on the sugar.

I provided Justin at Breezeway with a link to this post so they’ll be able to see the comments.

Thank you for your comments on the electrical panels.

While much of the list is good, practical stuff that responsible hosts pay attention to anyway, the whole thing is based upon US codes and regulations, not necessarily applicable to other countries.

For instance, it pre-supposes American/Canadian type construction. There is literally no way anyone could “inspect” my foundations- there is nowhere that they are visible. There is no basement or crawl space from the inside and the foundation is underground from the outside.

“Must meet or exceed address sign requirements for the town or country you live in”

Haha. The roads don’t even have street signs here, house numbers do not go in any discernible order and no one could ever find my house with the address- that would totally confuse things. Guests need my map and directions.

I had to laugh at the “check for rough spots on walkways”. Mexico is one big “rough spot” and if you don’t look where you are walking, you could fall in a construction hole with nothing to warn you about it aside from a piece of rebar sticking up with an upturned plastic coke bottle on it, and break your neck.

And if anyone tried to sue you because they tripped on your property, the judge would ask why you weren’t paying attention to where you are walking and why you think someone else should be held responsible for your inattention.

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