May 15 to November 30 is hurricane season along the Gulf Coast and Atlantic Seaboard. If you own a rental home in an at-risk area, here are five important tips to keep your tenants and investment property safe.
1. Check in with your property manager
Reach out to your property manager early in the season. Make sure they have your current contact information and have touched base with your tenants regarding hurricane guidelines and any prep work on the property.
Tip: Prep work can include trimming trees, clearing rain gutters, or installing roof clips and hurricane straps.
2. Reach out to your tenants
If you are self-managing your home, contact your tenants now. Make sure they are aware of hurricane safety measures and inform them of any storm-related preparations you will make to the property. Ask your tenants to keep in touch during a storm regarding their safety and any property damage. Make sure you have their contact information.
- Here is a sample hurricane checklist
- Encourage your tenant to have extra batteries on hand, insert wedges into sliding doors, and tape any exposed glass to prevent shattering.
3. Storm-guard your property
- Make needed repairs to address deferred maintenance, especially the roof
- Keep pools filled to 12 inches below the edge and cover pumps
- Consider purchasing a generator
- Know the location of the electricity, gas/propane, and water shutoffs
- Entry doors should be reinforced
- Windows and doors should be caulked
- Drains and sump pumps should be tested
- Tie down small trees and shrubs
- Sandbags should be placed around flood-prone areas
4. Review your insurance
Make sure you have adequate coverage for your property. Have your insurance declaration page ready and contact your agent with any questions before a storm makes landfall.
5. Safety first
Safety of people and pets is top priority. Tune into the National Weather Service or local news for storm updates. Encourage tenants to remain indoors during the storm, and heed all warnings and evacuation orders.