Depending on where you live, you may have already had to deal with the fallout from a major storm or even a hurricane. It’s no secret that there have been major hurricanes throughout the country in the past few months, and many Southern states and U.S. territories are still recovering from those storms. Since it’s still October, we’re still technically in stormy season, and so you should know how to prevent and bounce back from hurricane damage to any of your rental properties.
How Do You Bounce Back After Hurricane Damage?
Whether or not you’ve been devastated by weather in the past, you should make sure, now, that your property can stand up to hurricane damage. If not, you may find your property destroyed beyond repair, as opposed to suffering a lesser degree of damage. You may not consider these steps until it’s too late, unless otherwise prompted, so take our advice and start thinking, at least, about preventative measures.
For example, visiting the website for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (or, FEMA) can give you a little insight into the emergency experience and the resources you may need to work through it. “FEMA has a wealth of information that property managers, owners, and residents will need to know before the time comes to either evacuate or ride out the storm.” Since you want to have all this figured out before the weather starts, have an informative e-mail or packet ready to go out to renters as soon as there’s word of a possible storm. Everyone will be glad that you did.
Unfortunately, though, even the most thorough prep work can’t stop some of the more powerful storms, as evidenced by the hurricane damage of the past few months. Experts have said that while the frequency of hurricanes should decrease in the future, their intensity will increase. This means less storms, but bigger ones. Since these are the events to truly worry about, this news is far from reassuring. What it boils down to is the necessity of a plan to recover following a big storm.
The recent hurricanes – Harvey, Irma, and Maria – have more than demonstrated the destructive power of nature. They left millions of Americans without power, without their homes, and without a plan. Property managers in these areas have had to learn the hard way how to pick up and start again after a hurricane crashes through their property. What did those managers do following the storms?
“The first thing to bear in mind is that you should only go home when local officials say it is safe to do so.” It’s likely that it will take some time before it’s safe for you to return, before you can even get there (because of changes in routes and general traffic), and before things will return to any form of normalcy. The residents and workers of the area will be gradually allowed back in, though that doesn’t mean damage will be repaired at all when they first return to the area.
Like FEMA, the Red Cross has advice on what to do the first time you, the manager, return to your affected property. If it’s structurally sound, there may still be some damage that you can’t see inside the walls or ceilings. Animals, too, may have taken shelter inside and will be waiting when you visit. Last, but not least, is the potential for mold and other hazardous substances which have been introduced as the result of the water damage. As you can see, there are a lot of potential issues to contend with even if the property is still standing after the storm.
You have insurance, don’t you? If so, then they are going to have to size up the hurricane damage in order to begin making repayments for what’s happened. They may not do that quickly, especially if they have a lot of work to do, but take care of your end of things as soon as you can in order to get the quickest results. Unfortunately, this is the time when a lot of people learn what’s really covered in their policy. Since most haven’t really read over those finer details before, this could be a shocking and distressing time, should they learn that they aren’t covered for much at all.
Hurricane season comes every year, and though it may not always be as intense as in 2017, you should always be prepared for it. Part of property management preparation is ensuring that all of your property and renter information is protection, stored away, and organized for when you need it. Big storm or no, consider Budgetrac Property Management Software, which provides 24/7 access to your information on all devices so you never have to worry about losing track of records. Talk about a lifesaver!