1) Compile/maintain a list of all rental properties that have a fireplace. It will prevent any from being overlooked.
2) Have fireplaces professionally inspected and cleaned when acquiring new property. Fireplace defects, creosote build-up and animal nests are quite commonly found. Subsequent periodic cleanings should also be performed.
3) Provide tips to the residents for the proper use of fireplaces. Many websites today provide such information, which can be handed to the resident at their lease closing.
4) Make certain that a chimney cap is securely in place on the top of the chimney. This will limit the rain/snow that falls into the chimney but more importantly, it keeps animals and birds from making a home there.
Following these few steps will allow residents to enjoy their fireplaces while the owner/managers can rest assured that proper precautions have all been taken.