Natural disasters can damage your property. In 2014 alone, the US states incurred losses of $2.9 billion due to natural disasters. Whether you own a rental property or renting one, you should know about the property laws to understand your rights.
Over the length of the lease period, tenants are obliged to pay their rents on time, or else the landlords can enforce late charges or even evict the property. However, in case of natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, and storms, the laws may vary.
Here’s what you should do after any natural disaster:
Get in Touch with the Tenants
As soon as you know of a natural disaster, you should contact your tenants. Ask them whether they’re fine and also discuss the condition of the property. If they are on the property, it’ll be easier for them to give you an overview of the damages. But if they are away, ask them if the roads are clear and it’s safe to visit the property.
Inspect your rental property thoroughly and then acquire the services of repair workers to restore it. If your property is insured, contact the insurance provider at the earliest.
During the entire procedure, keep the tenants in the loop. Let them know when you intend to address the issues and how long it’ll take.
Review the Lease Contract
Before any tenant rents your property, it’s a must to sign a lease contract. This agreement highlights the rights of renters as well as the property owners during any natural disaster. It’ll guide you about the repair costs you’re responsible for.
Aside from checking the lease agreement, don’t forget to go through the property laws in your state. This way, you’ll be able to better understand your legal rights as a property owner and avoid facing legal consequences down the line.
Take Matter in Your Hands
When it comes to inspecting the property and addressing the repairs, some property owners allow the tenants to manage the tasks on their own. They can acquire the services of repair professionals, whereas the landlords pay for the expenses.
Although it can help you save efforts and time, it’s in your best interest to keep the matters in your own hands. You can hire any house repair service of your choice and decide on the damages that need to be addressed.
Collect the Rent
The tenants are liable to pay the rent despite the damages to the property due to any natural disaster. However, if the lease agreement doesn’t include this condition, you may need to find out the local laws regarding the rent payment.
You can even charge a late fee if the tenants fail to pay your rent in time. But it’s up to you to waive the charges in order to facilitate your tenants.
Prevent Potential Damages to the Property
No one can predict the natural disasters and the issues they bring along. But it doesn’t mean you can’t take preventive measures to reduce their impacts. Install hurricane resistant windows and hurricane shutters to protect your house from potential damages.
If you’ve received the warnings of floods by the local authorities, stock sandbags. They will help you divert the flow of water away from your home and keep the risks at bay.
Natural disasters can strike anytime, endangering your life and damaging your property. You should take measures to control the impacts of any disaster as well as understand the local laws about the responsibilities of tenants and landlords during a natural disaster. Make sure the lease agreement contains the rights of renters and property owners so as to avoid any legal issues later.