The long winter is coming to an end, and that means it is time to begin inspecting your apartment building interior and exterior for any damage inflicted during the winter. Tenants will likely be out and about much more frequently with the arrival of warmer temperatures, so it is important to fix any issues now before they cause a tenant or guest to trip and fall. Here are the three most important areas of your apartment building to inspect and repair now before you end up with a lawsuit due to apartment neglect that injured a tenant.
1. Inspect Your Parking Lot for Cracks
If you had any small cracks in your asphalt parking lot before winter hit, then they have likely become much larger. Fluctuations in local temperatures could have caused any water that entered the cracks, such as melted snow, to freeze and thaw repeatedly. When water freezes, it expands, and when it expands inside cracks in asphalt or concrete, it makes the cracks larger.
When inspecting your parking lot for old small cracks that have become larger, also look for new ones that have formed. When the ground underneath your lot froze and thawed, it could have caused brand new cracks, as well. The good news is that if there are just a few cracks here and there in your lot, an asphalt paving contractor can likely repair them without your having to repave the entire lot.
2. Also Inspect Outdoor Steps and Walkways
The outdoor steps leading into your buildings are prime spots for tenant slip-and-falls. Tenants can even fall on perfectly maintained steps due to carelessness, and you don't want to take the heat for those falls due to cracks or jaggedness in the steps that may or may have not even caused the falls. Just as water enters cracks and expands them in your lot, they can easily do the same in your apartment steps. The ground underneath freezing and thawing can even cause entire steps to collapse. Along with steps, inspect walkways, wheelchair ramps, and the ground of any outdoor common areas.
3. Examine Pools Decks and Entryways Closely
Pools injuries are another of the most common causes of tenant lawsuits against apartment owners. If you notice any damage to the area surrounding your pool (or the pool itself), immediately lock up the gate and distribute notices to your tenants that it is out of service until the repairs are made. While tenants may feel a little disheartened that the pool cannot be used, a little tenant annoyance can save you from hefty lawsuits due to pool slip-and-fall incidents due to cracks in the pavement surrounding the pool.
Always remember that warning signs and even orange cones surrounding damaged areas in your apartment parking lot, pool, or walkways won't always save you from potential lawsuits due to tenant injuries. You should put signs in place until you repair your damaged areas, but not every state recognizes them as a legal defense against every type of injury. The only way to protect your tenants from injury and yourself from lawsuits stemming from the injuries is to always keep an eye out for common-area damage and repair it promptly. Develop a close working relationship with an establishment like the Lakeridge Paving Company so that you won't need to find a new contractor every time there's a problem.