Hurricanes tear into South Florida every year. This could mean trouble for your rental properties. As long as you prepare for the hurricane ahead of time, getting back to business afterward should not be a huge problem. What can you do as a rental property owner to prepare for a hurricane? It turns out, there is a lot you can do to prevent property damage and help keep your tenants safe. Here the essential guide to hurricane preparedness to help you maneuver through all of the most important hurricane preparation steps.
Talk to Your Tenants
Make sure that you have the emergency contact information from your tenants and that your tenants have your emergency contact information as well. This is a good way to ease into what will likely be a very long conversation. You will need to ask your tenants to provide a series of tasks in order to keep them safe during the hurricane and to protect yourself from liability in case their property is damaged. You’ll ask them to:
- Park their gassed-up vehicles against the garage to prevent damage to the garage door as well as their vehicle.
- Move their furniture away from the doors and windows and cover it with plastic in the event that the storm breaks the windows leading to the ruin of their furniture.
- Take their pets inside the house, so they are safe from the storm.
- Fill the bathtubs and sinks with water in case the water is shut off or contaminated because of the hurricane.
- Set the refrigerator to maximum cold so that perishable food items will last longer if power is lost.
- Stock up on canned food and non-perishable food
- Stay in the central room of the property or on the downwind side of the house. Tell them to move to another room if the wind direction changes.
- Close the windows and storm shutters.
- Turn off the water and the propane.
- Collect any personal belongings from outside and bring them into the house or store them.
Protect Your Property
You should also make every effort to protect your rental property. This does not just include the house itself; it also includes all of the files that document its rental history, insurance, and so on. Make sure that you have all of these files backed up on an external hard drive that’s tucked into a water and fireproof safe, upload them to the cloud, or take some other measure to protect your documents. Those documents should include an updated emergency contact list that you should have on hand during the storm. Consider printing it and laminating it before the hurricane hits. After that, you should:
- Turn off the rental property’s main gas valve.
- Install some form of covering over the doors, windows, skylights, and vents using plywood, shutters, or panels. Use duct tape to cover whatever glass is still exposed.
- Trees should be pruned (and dead limbs should be removed and cleared away,) so wind-blown tree limbs don’t come free from the trees and crash into the rental property, causing damage.
- Insert wedges into sliding doors so that high winds can’t blow them out of their frames.
- Make sure that all of the appliances are up off of the ground and covered in plastic.
- If your rental property has a pool, lower the water to a foot below the edge of the pool, cover the filter pump, turn off the electricity that runs to the pump, and add chlorine to the pool to combat the storm contamination.
- Take radio and television antennas off of the roof and protect satellite dishes.
- Close and duct tape outdoor electrical outlets.
After that, weather out the storm as best you can, and deal with whatever damage comes after.
What If You Have a Property Management Company?
If you have hired a property management company to take care of your rental property, your responsibilities for hurricane preparation are altered drastically. Instead of you going through every part of your property and ensuring that it is protected, your property management team will handle it. All you have to do is sit out the storm and wait for your property manager to check in. Sounds nice, doesn’t it? If you do not want the responsibility associated with hurricane preparation for your rental property, hire a property manager! Keyrenter South Florida handles many of the daily tasks associated with property management, and we can help you make sure that your rental property is protected.