Hurricane season is upon us, and this year’s storms look set to be more powerful than average. Researchers at Colorado State University have predicted 17 storms between June 1 and November 30, four of which are set to sustain winds of at least 111 miles per hour.
Suppose you own rental property in an area commonly affected by the Atlantic hurricane season. In that case, you’re probably well aware of the need to protect your tenants and your investments when adverse weather hits. With 2021 set to be unusually hurricane-prone, however, we’ve put together a comprehensive preparation guide to help you avoid disaster.
How to prepare your investment property
As a real estate investor, it is your responsibility to protect your rental property from adverse weather. When hurricanes are forecast, try to complete the following tasks in advance:
- Trim surrounding trees: Flying branches could seriously damage your property.
- Install shutters on your windows (or purchase some plywood and nail it to the window frames)
- Book a roof inspection: A professional roofer will replace any loose shingles and close up any gaps to ensure the property is adequately sealed.
- Seal up gaps around windows, doors, or vents using caulk.
- Clear out your gutters: Failing to complete this important step could cause water to pool on your roof, eventually causing interior flooding.
- Remove heavy items from the backyard: Large paving stones or heavy outdoor furniture present serious dangers in strong winds. Stow them somewhere safe.
How to prepare your tenants
Tenants play a vital role in protecting your property, and you can help them and your property stay safe and secure when hurricanes hit. When making preparations, remember to:
- Advise tenants to follow official advice: They may need to evacuate or stay at home depending on the storm’s severity.
- If “shelter in place” orders are issued, ask tenants to lock all windows, doors, and storm shutters.
- Advise tenants to stock up on supplies such as food and water in case they lose power or roads become blocked.
- Purchase a small portable generator and first aid supplies: This could come in useful if your tenants are injured or left without power.
- Do your research and share as much critical information as you can with tenants, including a clear communication plan and the contact details of local emergency departments.
- Ensure that tenants know how best to contact you or your property manager in case of emergencies
Be sure you have an adequate insurance policy
Failure to purchase an adequate real estate insurance package could lead to significant financial losses. If you own a property in a high-risk area, your insurer must cover catastrophic damage caused by winds and floods.
If you own several investment properties and are worried about the cost of insurance, don’t fret. Unitas Financial Services offers affordable insurance programs for property managers, investors, and landlords who own more than ten properties. Find out more here and put your mind at rest before hurricane season hits.