It may seem that it is not your responsibility to prepare your tenants for an emergency or disaster. However, when a major event does occur, how your tenants respond can become your problem. They may panic or become angry when something terrible happens. Often the property management company is the first target for their panic and/or anger. They could be very unrealistic and expect you to perform the impossible for them. So…what should you do?
You cannot predict, avoid, or prevent emergencies/disasters. However, you may be able to educate residents on how to avoid a home fire or plan what to do if a hurricane, flood, or other unforeseen event occurs. It takes a little planning but it could make a difference when times are extremely stressful.
You can educate and train tenants on emergency/disaster in several different ways. What is important is to convey this information consistently to all tenants. Here are some methods to use:
- Rental agreement – it helps to put some information in your lease, such as an emergency number or clarification on what you can or cannot do during a disaster.
- Tenant newsletter – if there is a tenant newsletter from your company, include standard emergency information in each issue, and/or periodically include an appropriate article such as how to avoid a home fire.
- Company website – create a page on what to do if there if an emergency or disaster that is common to your area.
- Resident/Tenant Handbook – create an emergency/disaster section that gives them detailed information.
- Emergency/Disaster Handbook for residents – a separate document provides them with more information for them to use and emphasizes the importance of disaster planning for their residence.
There is much available that you can pass on to your tenants. The more they know can prepare them to cope independently of your property management office until the worst passes. Here is important information to relay to your residents.
- The importance of obtaining resident/tenant insurance
- What residents can or cannot expect of their property management company during an emergency/disaster
- How to prevent interior and exterior fires
- How to prevent chemical hazards
- What to do during a power outage
- What to include in an emergency/disaster kit for the residence
- How to create an emergency/disaster plan for the resident’s household
- What to do during the emergency/disaster
- What to do after an emergency/disaster passes
You may feel that all this preparation is unnecessary but consider how busy you will be if some unexpected event occurs. It is better to know you did your best to help your residents and that you might avoid some unnecessary calls? LandlordSource can help you with this task with the Resident Emergency/Disaster Handbook you can customize that is part of the LandlordSource Emergency/Disaster Recovery System.
Jean Storms, MPM® is the founder/author of LandlordSource and has been a NARPM® member since January 1993.
Disclaimer: LandlordSource does not represent the article content in this website as legal advice. It is shared information only and up to the reader to use this information responsibly, seeking legal advice as necessary to their business.