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4 Tips When Decorating Your Rental Unit for the Holidays

By: Sheila O’Hearn, Zoocasa

The holiday season is a much-anticipated time of year for a lot of people, and some actually hoist that Christmas tree up as soon as Halloween is over. Whether early-bird or last-minute revellers, enhance that joy by putting safety first.

Before joining the shopping frenzy to trim your apartment or condo for the season, keep the following tips in mind to avoid both aggravation and potential danger.

Be aware of apartment & condo décor regulations

If you’re new to the apartment or condo scene, welcome to the world of corporation rules, including regulations on holiday decorating.

For condo dwellers, holiday décor restrictions might include your entrance doors, exterior windows, balcony, and the front lawn of townhouses. Be aware that these locations most likely constitute condominium common areas, and that these same rules have also been adopted by many apartment complexes.

Some condo and upscale apartment corporations want to maintain a uniform appearance on the exteriors, disallowing individual residents from putting up the decorations they want—but that’s not the only reason. Wreaths, for instance, on the outside of unit doors that front on interior corridors are often made with materials that could fill common corridors with toxic gases in the event of a fire, thereby obstructing escape routes.

If exterior decorations are permitted, be aware that you may need to take them down by a specified period after the holiday.

Take care with holiday lighting

If outdoor lighting can be used, know that not all LED lights are created equally. They must meet Canadian electrical standards. LED Lights Canada cautions consumers that many of the line-voltage products being sold do not meet current Canadian electrical standards. Buying and using a non-approved electrical product that is not specifically certified for use in Canada could put the buyer at risk in the event of a fire; therefore, all line-voltage products must have “c UL, CSA or cETL” approval, and be labeled with one of those seals. Ask your housing manager for more details.

Rather than discover you’ve gone to great lengths to install non-compliant decorations that your corporation will order you to remove, save yourself the time, energy and expense by facing and accepting your corporation’s Christmas music beforehand.

Reduce fire hazards

Due to the fire hazard of a dried-out Christmas tree, many apartment and condo facilities prohibit the use of real Christmas trees. Try to see the glass half-full on this rule: You’re saving the environment, saving bucks annually, and sparing yourself the mess. From faux snow-covered varieties to table-toppers, be assured that the right fake tree will speak to your festive aesthetic sense and keep you and your family safe.

Check your tried-and-true electrical cords and extension cords when stringing up those twinkly lights. If the cord is overheating, get rid of it. Ensure also that the cords are the right type for both indoor and outdoor use.

A large number of decorations, including candles and string lights, increase the chance of fire. Never leave candles burning without supervision and keep them away from flammable items. Rely on battery-operated candles for that holiday ambience. For string lights, inspect the strands before plugging them in and discard any ones with broken cords. Even better, invest in lights that stay cool to the touch.

Ensure your smoke alarm is up to date

How’s your smoke alarm system? Ensure you replace the batteries often. Have you installed your carbon monoxide detectors outside of primary sleeping areas and on each level of your condo or townhouse to ensure maximum protection? It’s the law! The alarm helps increase your chances of vacating the premises in time. And lastly, is your renter’s insurance policy current? Forewarned in the event of an unfortunate accident is forearmed!

With common sense, safety planning and adherence to corporation safety rules, the holidays will be even merrier and brighter for you and your family.

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