Protect your tenants and your multifamily investment by making a hurricane preparedness plan today

So far, 2020 has been anything but predictable.

This month signifies the start of hurricane season, yet another unpredictable factor in what’s already been a tumultuous year for many of us.

In Florida, the Atlantic hurricane season begins on June 1st and lasts around 5 months. Storms typically peak in August and September, with the power to pose a significant threat to even the most well-maintained multifamily properties and their residents.

Join us as we explore how multifamily owners and property managers can properly prepare their multifamily properties ahead of a potentially devastating weather event, to protect both their tenants and their investment.

Keep your tenants informed

First, check to make sure you have the current contact details and emergency contacts for all tenants. These records should be reviewed at least every six months to ensure all of the details on file are up to date.

Create and maintain a disaster plan that details what you, as the multifamily owner or property manager, are responsible for doing to make your property storm-ready. Your disaster plan should also include information on evacuation routes and emergency shelters in your local area. Once finalized, this plan should be communicated to all tenants.

You could also consider setting up a resident alert system that sends automated email and text messages to keep tenants updated should a hurricane or other disaster occur.

Protect your asset

Conduct regular inspections of your multifamily property and look out for areas of vulnerability that could be exploited by a hurricane: cracks, roof damage, gaps in window or door seals, and so on.

Next, check that all of the insurance policies pertaining to your multifamily property are up to date and offer sufficient coverage. Keep copies of them in a safe place. An experienced property manager can assist multifamily owners in reading through the fine print and helping you get a firm grasp on key points like limits, exclusions, and deductibles.

If a hurricane is imminent

To prevent damage to your property—as well as to surrounding buildings and vehicles—multifamily owners or their property managers should perform anticipative maintenance as soon as forecasts indicate a major storm is on the way.

This may include:

– Emptying communal trash dumpsters

– Trimming trees and removing debris

– Removing or securing large rocks

– Securing outdoor furniture

– Securing any pools and outdoor leisure areas.

You should also instruct your tenants to secure any personal outdoor furniture and any items housed on balconies. If possible, take time-stamped photos of your property. This information can be invaluable should there be the need for an insurance claim.

Create a plan for recovery after the hurricane

When safe to do so, the multifamily owner or property manager should inspect the property for any damages and mechanical failures caused by the storm.

If possible, create a written report with photos/videos as evidence. Communicate with all of your tenants as soon as you can to let them know about the status of the property and whether there are any storm-related dangers or concerns. 

Finally, reflect on your plan. What was done well? What could have been done better? Use these insights to make any necessary adjustments to your plan, so you’re as prepared as possible for the next hurricane season.

Our advice: don’t wait!

Now you’ve learned how to prepare your multifamily property for hurricane season, our best advice is to start as soon as possible. There are steps you can take today that will help to protect your tenants and your property from damaging storms.

It’s also important to remember that this year’s hurricane preparations may be more challenging than normal, due to the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting operations and affecting the supply of essential items. Our advice: don’t delay in getting prepared!

How we can help

With many years of in-depth industry experience, our team of trusted multifamily experts is committed to helping investors secure the results they want from their multifamily property. You can learn more about how we help our clients here.

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