What Responsibilities Do Landlords Have in Storms and Other Disasters?

What Responsibilities Do Landlords Have in Storms and Other DisastersFor landlords who rent out property in a flood zone or areas where natural disasters are common, it’s important to know the responsibility that comes with flooding and damage from natural disasters. If you’re a landlord and you own property, you should know what you’ll be responsible for if the property ever floods in a storm or as a result of other natural disasters.

Liability for Flood Damage

If tenants are displaced due to flooding, they may ask about compensation for having to find lodging elsewhere. They may also ask how long it will take to clean up the flooding and any subsequent damage.

In general, landlords are responsible for floods and damage caused by storms. As the landlord is the owner of the property, it falls under their purview to take responsibility for exposure to storms, hurricanes, and other weather events. The rules for flood liability vary state to state as some states require a landlord to fix all damage.

Cleaning Up a Flood

A landlord should respond to flooding as soon as they can and file claims with their rental properties insurance provider. This is in both the tenants’ and the landlord’s best interests. Having a quick flood response will get tenants back in their homes in a timely manner while also reducing the damage to the property.

The landlord, however, is almost never responsible for any damage the flood inflicts to the tenants’ property (i.e. personal items, furniture). This is why tenants should invest in their own renter’s insurance. The tenants are responsible for their own belongings and can use their renter’s insurance to have professionals restore the items and take away what can not be saved.

Planning for Disasters

Landlords should have a plan for natural disasters of all types as well as flooding, no matter where they own property.

First, it’s important to have the right rental properties insurance set up. As a property owner, consider going over your current rental properties insurance coverage for any exclusions and certain disasters that our outside a standard policy.

Next, keep information about insurance and anything relative in a safe place so it can be accessed easily following a natural disaster or flood. This can be physical print-outs as well as digital documents kept saved on a flash drive or in a cloud-based storage system.

It’s also important for landlords to become very familiar with the laws around the destruction of rental properties and how that can affect lease agreements in any way. If laws around this are unclear in any way, landlords can include their own wording in the lease agreement for more clarity if a natural disaster destroys a property.

Structural Preparations

Depending on what types of disasters your area is prone to, like mudslides, monsoons, flooding, tornadoes, there may be some things you as a landlord can do to reduce damage to your rental property.

If you’re set up in an area that isn’t immune to hurricanes and subsequent damage, consider replacing standard windows with impact-resistant glass and installing shutters that are made for hurricanes and heavy storms.

If your property includes appliances for tenants to use, and the property is in an area prone to earthquakes, you can install hooks and straps to keep them secured.

There are many steps you can take to make sure you are limiting liability and keeping your tenants safe as well as within your rental properties insurance outline.

About Byrnes Agency

At Byrnes Agency, we offer insurance solutions that can be tailored to meet your specific needs. Whether you’re looking for personal policies or commercial coverage, we have the right coverage for you. To learn more about our products, contact us today at one of our two locations.

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