A Beginners Guide to Property & Guest Safety

Emily Hancock
Emily Hancock

September 18, 2020

Safety was already a trending topic in the vacation rental industry before this year, with managers paying more attention to physical safety features with smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire extinguishers.

The global pandemic has shifted the travel landscape, bringing safety and property condition front and center for managers, guests, owners, municipalities and staff. In fact, over 84% of managers we surveyed are taking steps to improve their safety and maintenance procedures over the course of the next year, with 13% considering certifying rentals through independent safety programs

Based on a review of thousands of safety inspections on Breezeway's platform, we have compiled this guide for property and guest safety. Note, this checklist focuses on steps to ensure basic safety and assumes additional procedures will be followed to routinely inspect the quality of the property.

General Interior

- Ensure smoke alarms and CO detectors are installed correctly

  • Are there devices on each floor and in every bedroom?
  • Are smoke alarms less than 10 years old?
  • Are CO detectors less that 7 years old?

- Confirm there is a basic first-aid kit available for guests 

- Make sure there is a card or flyer prominently displayed with important safety information

  • Is emergency contact information included?
  • Is location of fire extinguisher, first-aid kit, and circuit panel included 

- Make sure all locks, doors and windows are functional 

- Have fireplaces, stoves, chimneys and vents been inspected in the last year? 

  • Are instructions on the fireplace and stove prominently displayed?
  • Remove all fire starters that aren't child resistant 
Remove all fire starters that aren't child resistant 

 - Do chemicals, cleaning products, and paints follow guidance from the EPA and CDC?

  • Make sure all products are stored out of reach of children 
  • Remove all chemicals and products that are not labeled correctly 

- Look for any lighting issues or other hazardous items that could cause trips and falls 

- Is the water heater functioning correctly? 

  • Run the hot water for 3-5 minutes and use a thermometer to confirm temperature of 125 degrees Fahrenheit or lower

- Confirm all handrails are secure 

  • Do all stairs taller than 30" above the floor have a continuous handrail 
  • Perform a stress test to ensure the handrail can withstand a 200-pound force 


- Confirm there is at least one fire extinguisher near the kitchen 

  • Is the fire extinguisher mounted in a bracket?
  • Is there signage indicating the location of the fire extinguisher? 
  • Make sure the fire extinguisher is mounted within 30 feet of a cooking appliance 


- Are there two means of egress in each bedroom?

  • Confirm nothing is blocking the egress windows
  •  Are the egress windows at least 5.7 square feet?
  • Is the opening at least 44" from the floor 

- Do bedrooms more than 20 feet above the ground have folding escape ladder? 

- Confirm bunk beds meet 2007 Federal Safety Guidelines 

  • Remove ceiling fans from rooms with bunk beds

- Confirm all furniture is mounted and secured 

General Exterior

- Confirm the property address marker is visible during the day and at night 

  • Is the address lettering at least 4" tall?
  • Confirm address markers are not obstructed by any foliage or objects 

- Make sure there are no hazardous elements in the walkway or driveway

  • Check for rough spots, loose asphalt/concrete, and step separation 
  • Is there any tree damage that could be a potential hazard?
  • Check for and fill any settled areas that trap water 

- Visit the property at night for a detailed review of the exterior lighting 

  • Are all outdoor lights working and projecting on walkways and driveways?
  • Ensure all stairs are illuminated 


- Make sure the guardrails are up to code 

  • Ensure deck guardrails are 36" high (some local codes require 42")
  • Is there a 6-foot gap or less between guardrail posts?
  • Ensure guardrails don't have more than a 4" gap

- Confirm the handrails are configured correctly 

  • Are handrails located on at least one side of each staircase?
  • Confirm handrails are more than 30" above the ground 
  • Confirm handrails are continuous from the top to the bottom tread

- Check for rot or split spots 

- Confirm that deck furniture or hot tubs are placed away from railings 

Grill & Fire Pit

- Ensure fire pits are positioned up to code 

  • Are they at least 20-25 feet from any structures (if wood burning)?
  • Do they have a minimum overhead clearance of 21 feet?
  • Is the shut off valve clearly marked (if hard-connected to a gas line)
  • Are there any child safety features put in place?

- Ensure gas and charcoal grills are positioned up to code 

  • Are the grills at least 10 feet from any structure? 
  • Confirm grills are not placed under a deck, balcony, or underneath an overhang 
  • Check propane tanks for damaged or leaky o-rings 
  • Confirm cleanliness and ensure catch tray is free of grease build-up

Pool & Hot Tub

- Ensure pools and hot tubs are up to code

  • Are there safety notices posted for the pool and or hot tub?
  • Is access to the pool restricted by gates, fences, alarmed-doors or covers?
  • Has the hot tub been inspected in the last year?
  • Can the hot tub cover be locked or secured?
  • Is there a life ring or safety hook available for guests?
  • Ensure pool depth markers are installed and plainly marked 
  • Are the height of the numbers on the depth markers at least 4 inches?

For more detailed guidance on safety inspections and preventative maintenance, check out our safety programs.