It’s critical to take hurricane preparations when renting or owning a rental property. Natural disasters, like hurricanes, are inevitable. This is especially true when they’re as common as they are in the Charleston area. The good thing about a hurricane is there is typically some warning time before it hits your area. As frightening as a hurricane can be, it’s important to take precautions that will help prepare you, whether you’re the landlord or a renter.
As a landlord, it is your responsibility to ensure the safety of your tenants while they are leasing your property. There are situations that cannot be prevented, however, there are simple actions that make a large difference.
As the renter, there are precautions that can ensure the safety of everyone staying at the property and your belongings.
Here are some precautions to consider that will help prepare your rental property during hurricane season.
Check on your Insurance
This step is critical for both landlords and tenants. Before hurricane season starts, look over your insurance policy and make sure you are covered for any damages caused by hurricanes. Some hurricane policies don’t cover flood damages so its best to look into a policy tailored to flooding. Proper insurance is extremely important for a property close to the coast or a body of water – hint, hint, Downtown Charleston.
Downtown Charleston is known for flooding for several days during hurricanes. Flooding causes serious damage, especially to the historic properties. If your property is furnished, look into getting insurance that can replace any damaged items. This includes replacement cost coverage for your belongings.
For tenants, renters insurance is a good start. However, looking into your insurance policy is never a bad idea. Having insurance will make sure that you aren’t charged for any damages and can replace any damaged items. It will also help you prepare for the storm.
Before the Storm
Just because a hurricane is predicted to hit your area doesn’t necessarily mean that it will – storms change their minds sometimes. However, you should begin preparations nonetheless just in case the storm does hit. Look out for storm updates from NOAA or the National Hurricane Center.
For the owner:
Informing tenants about the potential threat of an incoming hurricane should be the first thing on your list. Property management companies, like LeasingandManagement.com, will make sure all tenants are informed of any incoming storms and know how to prepare. If you aren’t working with a property management company, it would be best to check on the tenants from time to time to make sure everything is okay. Make sure your tenants are aware that utilities like power and water might go out for a time during the storm. This includes air conditioning, so be prepared for the heat.
It’s best to get a contractor to inspect your roof if you are aware of an incoming hurricane. Doing this will help prepare and prevent any damages caused by the storm such as leaks. Installing hurricane shutters will also help prevent any potential damages.
Lean more about preparing before a hurricane here.
For the tenant:
Take typical hurricane preparations when renting a property. Stocking up on nonperishable food and making sure you have enough water are general precautions to take. Create an emergency kit with essential supplies that you would need for a minimum of 72 hours after a disaster. Make sure everyone in your rental property communicates about an emergency plan and is all on the same page.
Backing up any important computer files on a USB or hard drive will also save you a lot of stress and worrying just incase the power goes out. Purchasing a generator can also come in handy in a pinch.
If you are renting a single family house, tie down all outside furniture or bring them indoors. This includes grills, patio furniture, and potted plants. If possible, consider removing any window AC units, as well.
After the Storm
Begin documenting any damages as soon as the storm is gone and it’s safe to go outside. Check your local weather channel to make sure the storm is completely gone.
For the owner:
Staying communicative with the tenants will help everyone. They will more than likely report any damages caused by the hurricane. However, there are some things that tenants might overlook like roof damages. Because of this, sending a contractor over to conduct an inspection can give you peace of mind. If you are working with a property management company like LeasignandManagement.com, they will be sure to conduct their own inspections of the property and make any recommendations on repairs.
Contact your insurance company right away to report any damages caused by the hurricane.
For the tenant:
Photograph and thoroughly document any damages caused by the storm for insurance purposes and for your landlord. Do this for both your personal belongings and anything related to the rental property. Look for any mold within one day of flooding. If you find any, make sure to report it to your landlord or property manager as soon as you can
Renters of LeasingandManagement.com can find service numbers of electrical and water supplies here to find out information about power outages.
Hurricanes can be stressful and scary. However, taking these hurricane preparation can make owning and renting a rental property much easier.