The recent weeks have brought unprecedented, record breaking hurricanes that have wreaked havoc on many of the Caribbean Islands and southern states. Thankfully New York has been spared from their damaging effects, but New Yorkers are not in the clear just yet. Hurricanes can blow in anytime from early June through the end of November, with the worst storms often hitting late in the season. In fact, meteorologists and environmental researchers claim that the current combination of above-average sea surface temperatures and weak wind shear will give rise to one of the worst hurricane seasons New York has ever seen. And with their accompanying torrential downpours and winds coming in at anywhere from 40 to 111 MPH, hurricanes can have devastating effects on properties – and lives.
As a landlord, you want to do your all to keep your tenants and your property safe when coastal storms make their landfall. Hopefully, you’ve already taken all the precautions you can and are fully prepared for any eventuality. It’s always a good idea to take a second look, though, and to make sure all of your safety precautions are in place.
Sounds daunting? No worries; Jack Jaffa & Associates is here to walk you through the entire process. We’ll keep you safe and dry when the wet winds blow in!
Use this handy guide as a checklist for all your properties and be sure to review it periodically.
1. Check your insurance coverage
Your first step towards protecting your properties against storm damage is determining that you have adequate insurance coverage. Review your policy carefully to be sure it covers all damage caused by flooding and strong winds. If your coverage seems insufficient, you may want to consider upgrading your policy to one that offers more substantial protection.
2. Protect your property against flooding
One of the most devastating effects of hurricanes is extensive flooding caused by high storm surges. Be sure to clean your gutters and downspouts and check that you have working drains and pipes around your buildings. Use the next small rainfall to see whether the drainage on and around your property works seamlessly, or if water gathers in certain areas. Take note of which locations need fixing and don’t waste any time making the necessary repairs. A minor fix-up today can save you thousands of dollars in damages tomorrow.
3. Inspect your property’s structure
Check your properties carefully to ensure that there are no structural issues that a hurricane can worsen. Tenuous roofs, loose shingles, and weak supportive walls provide easy access for strong winds which can do substantial damage to your entire property.
If there is a severe hurricane watch in your area, you may want to consider boarding up your windows, especially the ones facing the side expecting the strongest winds. It’s also smart to seal all windows and doors so that water can’t get inside.
4. Review your evacuation route
While weather reports usually afford residents with enough time to evacuate the city should it become necessary, as a landlord, you need to be sure your tenants have a clear sense of the evacuation route from your building if conditions suddenly become dangerous. A sign detailing the evacuation route must be posted in a prominent public area. It’s best to distribute copies of this route to each tenant before a storm hits.
5. Last-minute precautions
When a hurricane warning or watch is in effect, it’s best to take last-minute precautions to protect your property. Cover external air conditioning units with tarps or garbage bags to prevent damage by airborne projectiles. Do a quick scan of your property’s exterior to check for scattered garbage or any loose-hanging branches. Patch any visible foundation cracks around your building. If you have a sump pump, clear any debris and check that it’s operating properly to prevent clogging. As mentioned, clear your gutters and consider sealing and boarding up your windows and doors.
Hurricanes can cause extensive damage and demand extensive preparation on your part. Here at Jack Jaffa & Associates, we’re all about making your role as a landlord easier. We’ll get you through this stormy season with minimal damage and even less stress!
Our thoughts are with all those who suffered from the devastating effects of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose, Katia and Maria.