Disaster Prevention Tips For New Property Managers

By Jacob Lundquist

Hurricane Harvey has ravaged the Texas coast, flooding large and small cities alike. Harvey is estimated to be the costliest of all natural disasters in the United States, and destroyed tens of thousands of homes. The torrential downpour, flooding, and powerful winds are continuing to assail the coast.

While a storm the size of Harvey is a statistical anomaly, natural disasters can occur at any time with devastating results. Therefore, it is in our best interest to do everything possible to defend against major weather events.

Here are some helpful disaster prevention tips for property managers, regardless of what property you manage.

  1. Require or recommend insurance that covers natural disasters and other weather events. Even less-severe weather can still cause water damage, and getting your residents to invest in insurance can keep both you and them financially safe post-disaster. 

  2. Regular inspections can mitigate many dangers as well as indicate what areas need to be dealt with in more depth. Little things like poor drainage, slow gutters, or fixtures can be fixed early on, and save a lot of time and worry during an actual storm. Bigger issues, like a sloped driveway or a cracked foundation, can be disastrous over time—regardless of the weather. 

  3. Weather-proof fixtures, especially those that directly deal with the elements. This includes windows, insulation, siding, outdoor fixtures, doors, and caulking. Poorly chosen fixtures can be damaging in the event of a storm if they’re not adaptive or strong enough. If your property is in an area with frequent storms, your outside fixtures should all be weather-proof. 

  4. Communicate with residents frequently and efficiently. Setting up a system that alerts the entire property, or every property you manage, can be incredibly helpful. Not only does this tell people that you care, it also helps them deal with strange weather. 

  5. Emergency supplies should be gathered on-site, in order to deal with the relative severity and frequency of storms in your area. If you encounter frequent violent weather, backup generators and sandbags might be necessary. If storms are few and far between, simple equipment like flashlights, rain coats, and first aid kids should be available. 

  6. Though less common, on-site maintenance or management staff can be incredibly helpful for your building. Having staff on the property itself can make your tenants feel like help is more accessible, and can also deal with emergencies far faster than average. 

Though these tips are generally situational, you should absolutely prepare for major weather events and storms like Harvey. Providing safety and security to your residents is not only financially responsible, but is communicatively valuable as well.

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