Disaster Preparedness for Rental Properties

Even the most proactive and prepared property manager in Fort Worth will have to handle an emergency maintenance issue at a certain point. If you keep your properties in good shape at all times, you might not expect anything to go wrong. However, a sudden leak, a tree crash, electricity outage, or a natural disaster can be almost impossible to prevent, which is why it is crucial to have a properly crafted emergency preparedness plan. Such a plan will help protect your tenants, your properties, and you from major loss due to damages. The Specialized Property Management company in Fort Worth is prepared for such situations and has professionals team ready to perform emergency maintenance when needed.

Before a disaster strikes

The secret to preventing disaster is to expect the unexpected. This starts with assessing the properties and their vulnerability to disaster. Rental apartments, commercial buildings, and mobile homes come with different needs during emergencies compared to a vacation or single dwelling home.

Ensure you assess the risks and hazards in your area, especially those specific to the region. Hurricanes, wildfires, tornadoes, and floods are just some of the natural disasters that commonly occur in the Fort Worth area, and Specialized Property Management has methods in place to help prevent major loss. National emergencies and global pandemics are hard to expect, as is the case with the Covid-19 pandemic, but it is important to outline plans and safety measures that will protect both tenants and landlords from getting sick and losing too much money.

Emergency Preparedness Plan

After assessing your properties, all the fine details on the disaster preparedness plan are in your hands. However, it is prudent to consult with your insurers and other key agencies to confirm your plan’s completeness and its compliance with relevant policies. Ask these agencies the different types of contingencies and disasters that you can include in your plan.

Create monthly or yearly rental property safety checklists if you do not have them. Ensure you include items such as tripping and falling hazards as well as fire extinguisher details. Consider evaluating your office even if you work from home as your safety is crucial.

Create two versions of the plan

There should be a version for the office and the other for your tenants. The version for the tenants can be included in the welcome package alongside the rules and regulations. Always have both versions stored electronically and in the cloud for easy retrieval.

Consider including the following ideals in the tenant version of the disaster preparedness plan:

• Contacts for the local emergency response agencies

• Exit plan and diagrams

• Check-in plans and calls

• Security, safety, and health tips

• Pest safety

• Utility, mechanical, environmental, and plumbing issues

The office version for emergency preparedness plan can include the following items:

• Checklists for the maintenance

• Locations for the fire extinguishers

• Emergency agencies phone numbers

• Instructions and locations to shut off electricity, gas, and water

Important considerations to include in the disaster plan:

• Ensure all emergency exits and fire-safe staircases are appropriately marked. Include maps and diagrams

• Make use of routine maintenance checks on the fire, smoke, CO2 detectors, and fire extinguishers. Ensure they are placed in strategic locations, well visible with easy to read and clear instructions.

• Ensure you know all the safe spots on the property that you manage and within the community around and document them properly.

• Have plans for the tenants with special needs who may need extra assistance and support.

• Offer stickers to pet owners to identify rentals with pets.

Steps to Take During a Disaster

Communicate

There may not be much time during a crisis, but make sure you try the best you can to communicate. Look for reliable property management software with built-in emailing and text messaging capacities. Get templates in place to ensure it only takes a short while to get the word out and reach the target audience.

The use of social media is a great approach to convey messages to your tenants. People can easily access social media feeds in case of emergencies. For example, having a Facebook page for an apartment complex can keep tenants informed of any important notices. Finally, consider going door to door or chain calling to pass information.

Listen

Ensure you keep up to date with state agencies such as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and other regional and national disaster management agencies. Being informed will help you with resources and recommendations set out by state agencies for disaster mitigation. Also, listening to your tenants and the local community can provide you with vital information about the situation.

The Recovery Phase

Property Damages

Ideally, agencies such as FEMA and Red Cross will let you know when it is safe to reenter your property after a disaster. It is prudent to keep off any property that has been affected by the crisis until you get approval from the relevant agencies. Your safety and that of tenants should always come first. Once the agencies have allowed you to enter, your insurers will work on the facilities that may need repair or replacement. Establishing a healthy relationship with contractors early on is useful, but make sure you get the advice of your insurers in the process. Ensure you also keep your tenants informed all along the way.

After the Disaster

Once everything has settled, and normalcy resumes, life should begin finding its usual course. This should happen only when the disaster has been declared over. Ensure you continue communicating with tenants as you maintain code compliance. Update the disaster preparedness handbooks and office binders where necessary.

Our Specialized Property Management company in Fort Worth can help you, as a landlord, stay on top of everything, especially when faced with a disaster. Our team is highly trained and can help keep you, your properties, and your tenants safe. Contact us today for a quote! 817.886.9220