If you own a rental property in Dallas, what can you do to prepare for a local emergency?
We’re talking about emergency planning and preparation today, and it’s especially important as people in Dallas and throughout the country deal with the current emergency, which is a virus pandemic.
Put Together an Action Plan
The best way to approach any local Dallas emergency is to have an action plan. A lot of the owners we work with at Mynd Property Management are not in Dallas. They might not even be in Texas. So, we need to be prepared for out-of-state owners and investors who are desperate to keep in touch and follow up on how their property and their residents are faring during any emergency.
Action plans can help you stay focused, organized, and prepared. Depending on the emergency, it will include any number of things. Maybe it means finding out who the government resources are at agencies that can help you. If you need to relocate a resident, you’ll want to know how to find the best options and where to go when you need help.
Prepare for Resident Relocation
If the emergency that occurs makes your Dallas rental property inhabitable, you’ll need to prepare to move your residents out of the home. This may be complicated, because most emergencies will attract first responders and other agents from outside of the area, and they’re going to take up a lot of the temporary housing and hotel rooms. If a tornado takes down your house and the entire city of Dallas is impacted, relocating your resident is not going to be as easy as booking a room at the Motel 6 or the Sheraton.
Be prepared for who you have to move. You’ll want to confirm the number of people living in the home. The action plan you put together will differ depending on whether you’re moving one person or an entire family. Is there a pet? Does someone have a disability that needs to be considered? You really need to engage with your resident so you can relocate them into the temporary housing that’s going to be best for them. You may relocate them for one day or one week. Maybe it will be longer. Have a plan, but make sure you’re flexible. That plan may need to change based on how the disaster impacts you, your community, and the recovery efforts.
Update Your Insurance Policy
When there’s an emergency that impacts your rental property, you’re going to need to know that your insurance policy is up to date and that you’re covered. Don’t wait for the emergency to happen before you find out whether you’re protected against that particular type of loss. Make it a habit to check in with your insurance agent regularly.
There are a lot of different policies out there. You need to be sure your asset is covered, and you need to know what else you can count on. Maybe your landlord policy covers relocation assistance for your residents and loss of rent.
Insurance is important, and you shouldn’t spend a lot of time thinking about how to save money by cutting corners on insurance policies. If the emergency in question happens to be a hail storm and you have huge holes in your roof from hail, you don’t want to find out after the fact that your policy doesn’t cover hail.
Provide Dallas Property Managers with Contact Information
When there’s an emergency, your property management company is going to need to get in touch with you. They’ll want to be in regular contact, especially if your property and your residents are seriously impacted. Make sure we have the right contact information for you.
A secondary contact is also important. If you’re out of state or out of the country, you’re going to want to provide your property manager with multiple people who can get in touch with you or make decisions on your behalf. Communication is always important, and it’s especially critical during emergencies.
Prepare Financially with a Reserve
Emergencies can have an immediate physical impact, and then they can ripple through the community and the economy to have an additional impact. This is happening right now with the coronavirus. A lot of Dallas residents can’t work, and that means they can’t pay rent.
You aren’t necessarily going to evict the residents in need during an emergency that affects the entire world, but you need to be prepared to make important decisions. If your residents lose their job, what will you do? Moratoriums on evictions and mortgage payments, if they become part of the response, will only last so long.
If you don’t have the funds to sustain a few months of missing rental payments, you’re going to experience even more anxiety. These are the things you really need to think about when you’re putting your action plan together. A strong savings or reserve will help you survive financially until the emergency is under control. You don’t want to be in a position where rent isn’t coming in, but if that actually happens, make sure you have the financial security to come through it.
There are so many discussions about what an assistance package or relief package might look like for people who have been furloughed or laid off. We don’t know what they will do or how we will be expected to handle it as landlords.
We don’t always know what an emergency will look like. This is why you have to feel prepared.
Whether it’s a virus or a tornado or a hurricane or a hail storm, know what steps you will take to address any needs that you, your property, or your resident may have. This might be a relocation, a physical property repair, or an interruption in cash flow. None of this is what we want, but it’s a reality that you may have to deal with.
If you’d like to learn a little bit more about how to handle an emergency, please contact us at Mynd Property Management. We would be happy to be your resource and expert partner when it comes to Dallas property management.