After working closely in the aftermath of storms from Hurricane Irma in 2017, we saw first hand how property manager and tenant relations can become strained after a major disaster has hit. Just a few struggles include loss of jobs temporarily, injury to loved ones and loss of important assets (cars, furniture, etc).
In an already stressful situation, landlords or property managers want to minmize income loss. Tenants want a functioning place to live. It is important for property managers and tenants to know their rights & responsibilities before, during and after a disaster.
Who Covers the Rent?
This is not a simple question to answer. Think about the following indicators of whether the property is habitable:
Your lease agreement will drive the expectations in this situation and we strongly encourage you to put some thought into how you would like to see this situation played out in a disaster so you can be best prepared when a disaster does occur.
Our recommendation: Restore the property as quickly as possible
Trying to collect rent in the aftermath of a storm is ripe for tenant confrontation. Think about the long-term relationship and prevent legal action with the tenants. Provide things such as portable air conditioning or generators while systems are down.
Be Aware of Insurance Fraud
The last thing you want to be accused of is double-dipping. When you collect insurance proceeds while collecting rent payments, you may leave yourself open to insurance fraud.
This also goes for your tenants. If they accept rent subsidies or insurance payments while not paying rent, they can also be in trouble for insurance fraud.
Our recommendation: Take the time to review your insurance policy before a disaster as well as have the tenant review their renters insurance policy prior to a disaster so each party can be clear on exceptions and responsibilities.
The condition of a property before a storm plays a role in receiving insurance monies after a storm. You may be liable if property conditions posed a threat or created hazards during a storm.
Ask yourself these questions:
Our recommendation: Preparation is Key. Provide an evacuation plan and evaluation of the property before a disaster can prevent liabilty after a disaster.
We’ve been through many storms and have assisted with filing many insurance claims. Being enrolled in our Emergency Response Agreement program can save a lot of headache for you and your tenants! Call us 24/7/365 for rapid response to your property in the event of a disaster.