Building codes are the minimum standard to which a new multi-family housing unit must be built. Housing codes define the minimum standard for existing apartment complexes. In order for an apartment complex to be considered a safe and sanitary place to live, it must meet these codes. Codes are different from state to state, but coding requirements can also be different at the local level, from county to county. Let’s take a look at six reasons why apartment complexes need to meet local code requirements.

1. Safety

Unsafe apartments can lead to lawsuits against the apartment complex managing company, injury to tenants, or large-scale disasters that affect the entire complex. Plumbing, electrical systems, gas leaks, and appliances present some of the most common hazards for tenants and must be up to the current code. Stairs and flooring should be level and free from damage. Doors and windows should lock securely to prevent potential break-ins. Each apartment should have smoke alarms installed and a safe way to escape in case of fire or gas leak.

2. Preventing Future Problems

One of the main reasons an apartment complex should be up to code at all times is that it will save money in the long run. For example, old electrical systems can cause injury or power failure. Though re-wiring an entire complex is a major expense for the management company, the up-front cost could save thousands in steady repairs over the next several years.

3. Sanitation and Cleanliness

Part of housing codes require apartment complexes to be clean and orderly, free of pests, mold, plumbing leaks or clogs, and polluted air. Housing codes usually require that the HVAC system be up to date to ensure proper ventilation. Updating or installing proper plumbing can prevent leaks that can cause mold to grow. A good management company will set out traps for cockroaches, ants, mice, or other invasive pests on a regular basis.

4. Comfort

Housing codes often include provisions that demand adequate heating and cooling systems in apartment complexes. Running, heated water is also a must. Newer building codes might also include specifications for installing HVAC systems that are more efficient and energy-friendly. Whether a management company is building a new complex or maintaining an existing complex, installing or updating competent plumbing and HVAC systems is a must.

5. Structural Integrity

For new apartment complexes, building codes state that the building must be structurally sound and engineered to reasonably withstand any dangers in the area such as earthquakes, tornadoes, or hurricanes. Existing buildings can be updated to meet current codes through retrofitting, reinforcing exterior walls, and ensuring the roof is sound.

6. Reputation and Tenant Morale

Word of mouth is a powerful tool. If apartment complexes do not meet local codes, tenants will likely move somewhere else and tell others not to live at the complex. A management company should take tenant complaints seriously and take immediate action to resolve any issues.

Building and housing codes can seem overwhelming for property management companies, but hiring a realty advisor or getting an apartment complex inspected for any code violations can help.