Whatever time of the year, rental property owners should double their efforts in observing and implementing safety precautions to prepare for or avoid emergencies. However, emergency preparedness is not only the responsibility of property owners. Tenants should also do their part in the matter.
As a renter, you should know how to evaluate vital safety information and learn the basics of how to prepare for natural disasters. Here is a blog article that will tell you about the fundamentals of emergency preparedness.
Create an Emergency Plan
Calamities and disasters can occur when you least expect them to happen. That is why property owners and tenants should always brace for an emergency, and the best emergency preparedness advice is to create an emergency plan.
Determine what types of disasters that could affect your locality and understand their implications. Educate your family or roommates on how to communicate with each other and reconnect if you are separated by a calamity. Make an agreement with them regarding a meeting place if such an unfortunate thing occurs.
You should need a thoughtful response to every natural calamity or emergency. Do your research and seek expert advice regarding emergency preparedness. Read some written materials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to know what you must do before, during, and after natural disasters.
If you reside in an apartment, familiarize the building’s exit plans in case there is an emergency. Know the access points to emergency exits and determine how to safely get out of the apartment when there is a power outage or fire. Moreover, take care of your pets (if you have any) and get them safely out of the building.
Prepare a Basic Emergency Supply Kit
FEMA provides a list of items you should include in your emergency supply kit. The items contained in your kit will help you survive by yourself for several days during a natural disaster.
- Non-perishable food
- Potable water
- Basic first aid kit
- Battery-operated radio
- Spare batteries
- Hygienic supplies
- Dusk mask
- Cellphone with a charger
- Pliers or wrench to turn off utilities
- Can opener
- Plastic sheeting and duct tape for a makeshift shelter
- Physical local maps
Of course, you can add other items to this list to suit your unique needs. For example, you can include medications, baby supplies, pet food, etc. You may also need some clothing, shoes, and a sleeping bag.
Secure and Bring Your Important Documents
It is vital to secure and protect your important documents before a natural disaster strikes. Store the hard copies in waterproof and fireproof storage, and use a cloud-based service for the electronic copies to access them wherever you go.
Obtain a Renter’s Insurance
Getting a renter’s insurance is affordable, and usually ranges from $15 to $20 monthly. Having this insurance coverage can help you financially in replacing the items lost or damaged during a disaster. A renter’s insurance is different from a landlord’s insurance because the latter will not cover your belongings.
If you have a renter’s insurance, make sure to document your items for money claims. Take a photo or video of your belongings or get the serial numbers of valuables to ensure you can claim money for the stuff you own through your insurance coverage.
What to Do After a Natural Disaster?
Know what your renter’s insurance covers after a natural calamity or disaster. Your insurance coverage will enable you to claim money for your belongings. It may also help shoulder the cost of temporary housing depending on your insurance plan.
Moreover, inquire or seek help from the local government if your rental was damaged and is already uninhabitable because of the disaster. The amount of assistance you can get from the local government may vary by state or municipal area.
What If the Rental is Rendered Uninhabitable?
Typically, there is a right to an implied warranty of habitability granted to tenants. In such a case, your landlord should ensure your temporary shelter while there is an ongoing repair to the rental property.
In some localities, if a disaster partially damages the rental unit, the tenant can terminate the lease upon issuance of a written notice to the landlord. In other places, if the rental unit is completely destroyed, the landlord may not provide a temporary place to the tenant, and the latter may cease paying rent.
Consult an attorney or your local housing authority to know your rights when natural disasters happen.
Preparedness is extremely crucial to ensure your safety in times of natural disasters. Be sure you craft an emergency plan, build a basic emergency supply kit, secure your important documents, and get a renter’s insurance. Know what to do before, during, and after a natural calamity strikes. Also, ensure your rights as a tenant in times of emergencies.