As a property manager, you are responsible for the well-being of many tenants as well as their families, particularly regarding the welfare of the dwelling.
Hail, wind, snow, and heavy rainfall can bring a multitude of damages to your property. Although the forecast as well as potential threats to the property can be unpredictable, it is nevertheless highly important to be as proactive as possible and to err on the side of caution.
Here are 7 Tips for Storm Damage Prevention for Property Managers:
1. Document the State of Your Property Before the Storm
Prior to the oncoming storm, be sure to document the condition of your property as thoroughly as possible. Even though the property may not currently have any damage, it is beneficial to take note of the condition in order to compare and contrast it to its condition following inclement weather.
As safely as possible, take photos of the property and inspect the roof, siding, windows, screens, gutters, and downspouts. Photos before and after storms are instrumental when filing property insurance claims and working with the insurance adjusters.
2. Check for Potential Debris
Is the property in danger of potential debris from heavy winds? Debris can cause a significant amount of damage to the dwelling. This particularly applies to falling trees and limbs. Prior to a storm, check for nearby trees that may pose as a danger and contact local tree removal or trimming companies to assess potential threats and prevent damage.
3. Inspect the Gutters
Throughout the seasons, debris from trees such as leaves and twigs can build up and clog the gutters which can then prevent proper drainage. Clogged gutters can also damage fascia boards which can lead to water leaking through the house, damaging the walls and ceiling.
Make sure the gutters are clear of debris, especially before heavy rainfall.
4. Check for Drainage Issues in the Yard
Contact local landscaping experts to check for possible drainage problems that may lead to standing water or flooding. Heavy rainfall can often lead to flooding of basements or ground-level floors which can cause damage to carpets, drywall, personal contents, and so forth. What is even worse, interior water damage can eventually cause mold.
Prevention can consist of adding soil to low areas or installing drainage pipes to draw water away.
5. Protect Personal Property
Tenants should be aware that wind, hail, and snow can cause severe damage to personal contents if left outside during a storm. Moreover, wind can lift and carry items that could collide with the property and cause damage to the dwelling. Debris can also injure individuals or cause damage to vehicles.
Prior to a storm, bring in items such as patio furniture, decor, garbage cans, etc. or tie down items such as trampolines which can easily blow away during windstorms.
6. Prevent Ice Damming
In the event of snow, ice dams can occur when the attic warms the roof thereby melting the snow and causing water to drip toward the eaves. Once it re-freezes, it creates an ice dam which leads to water backing up under the shingles or fascia boards where it can soak through the roof or walls causing interior damage.
According to roofing manufacturer CertainTeed, there are three ways in which to prevent ice damming:
- Insulation: proper attic insulation will minimize heat escape through the ceiling;
- Ventilation: adequate ventilation in the attic will help draw out the heat;
- Waterproofing: waterproofing shingle underlayment is resistant to water and helps prevent backed up water from leaking into your home.
Contact a local roofing contractor who can determine whether or not the roof is in need of ice damming prevention.
7. Contact the Insurance Carrier
Even if a storm has not yet occurred or has caused damage, it is highly beneficial to understand the insurance policy and familiarize yourself with the coverages and exclusions. The Property Owner can request a certified copy of the policy which thoroughly describes which perils are covered and which ones are not. This will help you and the tenants become more proactive when faced with pending inclement weather.
Inspecting the property before storms and understanding the insurance policy are great first steps to take when preparing for potential damaging weather. Do not wait until after the storm causes damage; stay alert and proactive in order to make the insurance claims process as simple as possible should the need arise.