Hurricanes cause massive amounts of damage when they strike and when they’ll strike is unpredictable. The extreme winds are catastrophic, but the flood waters that often accompany them are usually worse. This year’s hurricane season just began and it’s expected to be more active than average.
While it may not be your job to walk your tenants through every catastrophe or difficult situation, you have a vested interest in protecting the property you own and/or manage. Providing guidance for hurricane season will not only help protect your property, but your tenants will appreciate you looking out for them.
Hurricane Preparation for Landlords
Preparing before a storm comes is better than restoration after the damage is done. Preventive measures may cost money to implement, but hurricane damage will cost you more. Use the following tips to help your tenants prepare for hurricanes this year:
Communicate to your tenants.
Send them a quick email, text, or even a phone call just to say you wanted to see how they were doing. Tell them to keep safe in the storm and that you’re there if they need anything. It’s a great way to communicate that you care and that you’re on top of things.
Send Hurricane Preparation Procedures
Follow it up with an email to all your tenants with a reminder of basic hurricane preparedness procedures. You can direct them to online resources such as the National Hurricane Center, Red Cross, and Ready.gov. Give them an overview in your email with basic information such as evacuation procedures, emergency kit preparation, and what to do in the case of power outages.
Give your tenants a reminder about how to prepare and protect the property from hurricanes.
- Trim branches away from houses and buildings.
- Anything that could become a projectile needs to be moved indoors. This includes furniture, toys, tools, potted plants, and grills.
- Clean out gutters and storm drains to ensure proper drainage during the storm.
- Park vehicles under cover if possible, and make sure the gas tanks are full.
- Bring all pets indoors.
- Take pictures of the property before the storm arrives to provide to the insurance company should you need it.
- Consider sandbags or inflatable bladder dams for flood prevention.
Inside Your Home
Give your tenants an idea of what to expect during and after the storm. Water, gas, and power may come and go or go out completely. They need to be prepared to have to stay indoors for a few days with no access to food and other resources. This is why an emergency kit is so crucial. A basic emergency kit should include the following:
- Plenty of water- one gallon per person per day is recommended. Plan for at least 3 days.
- Plenty of food- at least a 3 day supply of non-perishable food.
- Non-electric can opener.
- Extra flashlights and batteries.
- Extra cell phone chargers.
- Whistle and/or flares to signal for help.
- Duct tape.
- Dust masks.
- A hand-crank or battery-powered radio.
- Extra cash.
- First aid kit.
- Copies of critical documents in case you have to evacuate.
- A wrench or pliers to shut off utilities.
Backup All Digital Files
Your tenants may have their data backed up to local hard disks or thumb drives, but flooding would easily destroy these. All digital files should be back up to a server offsite. A cloud-based solution is ideal.
After the Storm
You will have to inspect all your properties to assess any damages caused by the storm. Hurricane damage can be devastating to life and property. Assess the damages and take pictures for insurance claims. Find a reputable general contractor to make repairs. Making repairs sooner rather than later will keep issues from getting bigger and keep your costs down.
Repair and Rebuild
Once the storm has passed, reconnect to your tenants. If they had to evacuate, send them texts or emails when it’s safe to return. Let them know you’re assessing the damages and beginning restoration. Your goal is to keep the damages to a minimum, address them quickly, and give your tenants a feeling of security. Showing strength during times of disaster builds trust and loyalty. Get started with this guide to hurricane preparations for landlords.
Torocon specializes in hurricane and other natural disaster restoration for commercial and residential properties. Contact Us if you need repair and restoration work from hurricane damage or other disasters.