Storm surges, floodplain locations, flash floods, and snowpack runoff are just a few of the ways flooding can happen. You can’t stop Mother Nature. Take proactive measures for your multifamily property and prepare your residents with the following flood safety tips.
Flood your residents with the right information
The best way to avoid mistakes is to plan ahead.
Hold an informative meeting on flood safety with your team and community. Organize an informational package in paper and digital form for your residents. Spell out in specific details what to do and where to go if a flooding emergency takes place. Share:
- pre-disaster plans
- storm procedures
- disaster relief information
- evacuation routes
- shelter locations
- emergency response numbers
- information on shut downs of major building systems
- recommended items in an emergency kit
Flood safety steps you can take before a flood
Listen to the NOAA weather radio as well as local news for updated weather news. Monitor updates. Share and follow the flood safety directions provided by local officials.
The Red Cross has a free Android and iTunes app with pre-loaded instructions for flooding which will work even when cell towers are down. Keep all of your multifamily residents informed on weather conditions. Notify emergency responders of any disabled residents in your building in advance.
How can you prepare your multifamily building today to avoid flood damage?
FEMA recommends the following steps to protect your property from flood damage.
- Waterproof – Seal basements and areas susceptible to flooding.
- Sump pump – Check that your sump pump is in good working condition. Install a battery-operated model in case of power failure.
- Debris – Remove debris and clean your downspouts and gutters.
- Elevate – All electrical panels, switches, utilities, appliances should be elevated.
- Anchor – Fuel tanks should be anchored.
- Shut off valves – Locate the shut off valves for water, electricity and gas. Call your utility company with any questions.
Invest in flood insurance for your multifamily property
Take photographs and videos of your multifamily property now and file copies with your insurance company. Over document your building and anything that might need to be replaced. (Read: everything)
Be aware that most insurance companies do not cover floods in their regular policy. Landlords need separate flood insurance coverage. In the U.S. the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is the only flood insurer.
Advise residents about personal property and flood insurance
Renter’s insurance will cover the possessions of your tenants for a wide variety of unplanned events but not floods. Flood insurance would be an additional policy but a wise purchase.
Your responsibilities after a flood as a landlord
As a landlord you are responsible for the building and apartment repairs that are needed after flooding. The housing you rent must be livable and meet all local housing, health and safety laws. If the floods renders your building unlivable you may have to provide alternative housing while your multifamily building is being repaired.
Make sure your lease agreement has specific wording that covers conditions if the rental property is partially or completely destroyed. Always check with a landlord attorney to make sure your lease is compliant with state laws on the subject.
Create an emergency call list
Time is of the essence when it comes to water damage. As soon as the flooding has stopped, assess the water damage to your apartment building. Document all damage with photographs and take corrective action.
Have the name and numbers of at least two reliable contractors for every possible repair on hand now so you aren’t scrambling when an emergency occurs.
Let’s hope you never have to deal with flooding in your property but now you know the flood safety steps to take if it does happen!
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