If you’re a landlord or a rental property investor in Denver, it’s important that you prepare for any type of emergency or disaster. As we have seen with the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s much easier to manage a crisis if you have a plan in place. So today, we’re discussing some of the things you can do when you know an emergency is coming and you want to be prepared. We’ll also talk about emergencies and how you and your residents can work together to keep everyone safe and mitigate further property damage.
Legal Definition of an Emergency with Denver Rental Properties
When you own residential property in Denver, the most important thing you need to know is the definition of an emergency. You might have an idea of what an emergency is, and your residents probably have their own ideas about what constitutes an emergency. However, it’s the law that defines how and when you have to act.
Make sure you’re in compliance with state and local laws when a situation arises. You’ll need to know how to handle the response that’s legally required. Once you have understood it, make sure you explain it to your residents as well. Educate them about the definition of an emergency so they understand the steps that need to be taken and why one thing is an emergency but another isn’t.
Once the information is consistent throughout all parties, you’ll know how you must execute. The law really defines how to go forth when there is an emergency at your property. That’s the starting point.
Every state is different with different emergencies per their property codes.
Preparing Your Denver Rental Property and Residents for an Emergency or Disaster
There are a series of things you can you do at the property to protect it during an emergency. Some of the most obvious things are shut off valves and circuit breakers.
If you own a single-family detached home, remember that a lot of residents moving into your property are coming from apartment living. It’s a natural phase with residents. Their first properties are often apartments, and then they decide to rent a single-family home for a while before they eventually buy their own home.
Many times, this means your residents are coming to your property from apartments. That’s a much different situation than a single-family home. When you rent an apartment, you’re in an entire building, and you have maintenance staff who are usually physically present and able to respond quickly. You don’t need to know much as a resident. In a single-family home, responsibilities are a little different.
As a landlord, you want to meet your resident at the property before the move-in date and walk through the home. You can show them where the electric panel is located and what to do if the furnace stops working or the home loses power. You can demonstrate how to check a breaker and what is needed to reset it. Residents will feel better about responding to a leak in the house if they know where to find the shut off valve.
Not every renter has had to worry about these things in the past, so show them where the pertinent valves and breakers can be found. Make sure they know that there there’s something different involved for the water heater. If there’s a water heater leak, show them how to turn off the supply.
Educate your residents. This is just one of many preventative steps a landlord can take to protect their Denver investment property and give their residents a better living experience.
A lot of your best results will be due to pre-planning and communicating. You and your residents will understand the definitions of an emergency, and they’ll know the relevant steps to take.
Documentation that Residents and Owners Need
You’ll also want to give some attention to your insurance policies and contact information when you’re planning for an emergency or a disaster. Make sure everything is up to date. No one wants to believe that an emergency or a total loss from a fire will ever happen, but it can. You’ll want to know you’re properly insured as a landlord.
As you should know, an HO-3 policy is different from a homeowner’s insurance policy that you have as an owner/occupant. You want to make sure all of your coverage is up to date and comprehensive. Check for liability and damage. Loss of rent is also good to have.
Talk to your residents about their renter’s insurance as well. You don’t want to be in a total loss situation with your Denver rental home when you realize you don’t have enough coverage, and your residents don’t want to be without coverage either. Make sure you’re properly covered and ask for proof of insurance from your resident. Ask them to add you as an additional insured if you can. This will ensure you’re notified if the renter’s insurance policy lapses or is cancelled.
Contact information is also essential. Make sure you and your residents have up to date information for various state, local, and federal agencies. This might include the local CDC center and Poison Control. In the heat of an emergency or a pandemic like our recent issues, it’s not always information that people have readily available. But just knowing where the closest hospital is can be helpful to your residents, especially if they haven’t been in the area long.
As you can see, pre-planning leads to a much better emergency response. If your house is flooding or on fire, that’s not the best time to be looking for information. You want to be ready to take action and implement your emergency plans.
Think about what you’ll need before the emergency happens, and gather all of your resources and information together. Then, share all the information you have with your residents. That’s our best advice. If you have any additional questions about emergency planning or anything pertaining to Denver property management, we hope you’ll contact us at Mynd Property Management.