When tenants rent your South Florida property, they want to feel safe. That’s why you, as a real estate investor, should strive to provide them with a unit that meets certain standards. You hire a property management company to conduct inspections and repairs to maintain the unit. Unfortunately, there are events that you can’t control but that you can brace yourself for.
You and your tenants share the same concern when it comes to emergencies such as natural disasters. While your tenants ultimately need to look out for themselves, a responsible real estate investor is tasked to mitigate the risks to their tenants and their unit. After all, saving your property is the best chance to save your income, so protecting it is in your best interests.
In this guide, we’ll show you how to create an emergency preparedness plan, as well as what disasters you’re probably more susceptible to than others.
What disasters should South Florida landlords plan for?
If your rental property is in South Florida, you don’t need to worry about snowstorms, but you do need to worry about certain disasters such as floods, fires, and hurricanes. Let’s take a look at how you can prepare for each below:
South Florida sees a lot of rain from mid-May to October, increasing the chance of flooding. Although real estate investors often have enough time to prepare for the flood, flash floods can happen without warning. When this happens, it won’t be long until the rental property is submerged. While there’s no way to completely protect your property from a flash flood, you can mitigate the damage:
- Build a sandbag wall in areas where water will probably enter.
- Unplug all appliances before the house is flooded.
- Shut off the water, power, and gas.
- Transfer all furniture to the upper floors.
- Block the floor drain in the basement so there’s no sewage backup.
After the flood, do not attempt to clear the debris from the property yourself. Stepping into floodwaters puts you and your tenants at risk of electrocution, so ask professionals to do it for you.
Another disaster landlords need to prepare for is a fire. Fires can occur anywhere, whether or not your rental property is in a wildfire-prone area. For instance, house fires account for around 358,500 fires in the U.S. each year. Here’s what you can do to protect your property and tenants from a fire:
- Install smoke alarms and check their batteries once a month.
- Make sure that windows are easy to open from the inside.
- Make sure that doorways are wide enough.
- Provide your tenants with at least one fire extinguisher.
- Prepare a fire evacuation route.
Since around 51,000 electrical fires occur each year, you should also inspect your rental property’s electrical systems, including the cords, circuits, etc. If you’ve hired a property management company, they can provide you with this service.
Unfortunately, for South Floridians, the hurricane season lasts six months, with extreme hurricanes around September to October. Hurricanes are intense, being able to “suction” the house off of its foundation, destroying the property. Fortunately, you’ll get a hurricane warning if it’s on its way to your vicinity, giving you ample time to implement your tenant emergency plan. Here’s how to prepare:
- Secure outdoor plants, patio furniture, decor, etc.
- Trim trees to ensure there are no dead branches that could become airborne.
- Get rid of debris from the property.
- Invest in hurricane shutters, hurricane straps, end brackets, and the like.
- Hire a South Florida property management company to conduct post-hurricane clean-up.
What are some tips on creating an emergency plan for tenants?
The tips above cover the disasters that are most likely to occur in South Florida, however, there are other disasters you need to think about that aren’t on this list. Whatever the situation, here are general tips on creating an emergency plan for your tenants:
- Train your tenants. If possible, train your tenants on performing first aid. Consider offering them free training to encourage them to attend.
- Train your team. If you have a team of people that are helping you run your rental property, provide free first aid training to give them confidence in dealing with emergencies.
- Schedule drills. This applies to condominium communities. Schedule drills to see how your tenants would respond to an actual disaster. Don’t forget to inform your tenants of the drill ahead of time.
- Leverage technology. Use technology to communicate with tenants during an emergency. Tenant portals let you share evacuation plans, routes, and other useful information.
- Coordinate with your tenants. Your tenants don’t need to follow your preparedness plan. What’s important is that you offer your aid and coordinate with your tenants so there’s no confusion during a disaster.
- Post evacuation routes. In condominiums, it’s critical to post evacuation routes in visible areas such as by the elevator and other common areas. Also, make sure your property has emergency lighting in dark areas.
- Consider smart technology. An IoT-enabled smoke alarm, for instance, can send alerts to you, your tenants, your property manager, and the fire department when it is triggered. That way, everyone will be aware of the situation.
- Conduct routine inspections. Smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and the like should be checked regularly to make sure they’re in good working order. Flashlights should also be charged regularly, especially during the South Florida hurricane season.
Does your investment property need an emergency preparedness plan?
Real estate investors can have peace of mind with Luxury Property Care’s hurricane preparedness services. Our team is here to help you create an emergency preparedness plan to protect your property and tenants, and to return it to its original condition. Through our trained and trusted network of contractors, we’ll make sure that your tenants can return to their normal lives in no time.
Luxury Property Care is a full-service property management firm serving residential rental properties such as single-family homes and condominiums in South Florida. Contact us at (561) 944 – 2992 or complete our contact form for more information.