When a disaster or emergency strikes, will your tenant be prepared? No one can predict when an emergency will occur, but as a property owner, you should do your best to prepare your tenants for all types of emergency situations. Successful Atlanta property management companies go above and beyond to ensure their rental properties and tenants are adequately prepared for every type of emergency and disaster. Read below to find out how you can reduce risk by preparing for the unknown.
Preparing For Minor Emergencies
Minor emergencies happen nearly every day, and chances are your tenants will call you for help solving them. However, you can give your tenants the tools to address minor emergencies before they turn into something worse. Here is what we recommend providing:
- Plunger: It may be embarrassing for your tenant to call you for help with a clogged toilet. Provide a plunger so your tenants can take care of it on their own.
- Fire Extinguisher: Don’t let a small kitchen fire or candle put your property at risk. Put a fire extinguisher under the kitchen sink to prevent a disaster. If your rental home has more than one story put a fire extinguisher on every level.
- Tool Box: A loose doorknob or handrail should not warrant a call to property management. Atlanta landlords who want to do more for their tenants provide a toolbox with basic tools. A hammer, wrench, and screwdriver set will set up your tenant for success.
- Flashlight: What do you reach for when the power goes out? Candles are a fire hazard, and unwieldy. A battery-operated flashlight can be a lifesaver during an unexpected blackout.
In addition to proving the items above, landlords should always review safety information at move-in. Show your tenant where the home’s water shut off valve is so they can shut off the water in an emergency. Print out a list of helpful phone numbers, such as poison control and your emergency maintenance number, and ask your tenant to keep the list handy.
As a property owner, you can prepare for minor emergencies too. Keep good records of all maintenance performed on your rental property. This will give you an idea of when certain things on your property need to be serviced or replaced in order to keep them in good condition. In addition, Atlanta property management companies must have a list of trusted vendors. Do not make your tenant wait around in the Atlanta heat while you try to find an HVAC company you trust.
Preparing For Floods
According to the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency, severe thunderstorms and flooding are the most common natural disasters in Georgia. Devastating floods caused 10 deaths and $500 million in damage in 2009. Powerful storms can hit at any time, but a few simple steps can help you prepare your rental home and tenants to absorb them with minimal harm.
- Encourage your tenants to sign up for Notify ATL. This free service provides real-time updates about critical events, such as severe weather and evacuations, for Atlanta residents.
- Tell your tenants to keep important documents in a water-proof container, especially if they live in a flood-prone area.
- Cut back trees and bushes to minimize damage to homes and cars. The shade provided by an old oak tree is nice, but may prove dangerous during a severe thunderstorm.
- If your tenant is ordered to evacuate because of severe weather, don’t wait around. Remind them to inform loved ones where they are headed during an evacuation.
The aftermath of a flood can wreak havoc on unprepared property management. Atlanta property owners must be prepared to manage clean-up after a flood. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, mold and mildew will start to develop 24-48 hours after a flood. Mold can cause property damage and health problems. Air out your home after a flood by opening doors and windows and circulating the air with fans. Remove wet items such as carpeting and furniture, and throw out any contaminated food. If flooding is extensive and mold is visible, it may be necessary to call in professional help. For more information on mold prevention and removal, visit this page.
Preparing For Fires
Wildfires are not the most common type of disaster in Georgia, but when they happen they can devastate a large area in a short timespan. According to the Georgia Disaster Management and Homeland Security Agency, “On April 16, 2007, a downed power line ignited drought-parched forest floors in southern Georgia, which led to the largest and most devastating wildfires in state history. Nearly 564,000 acres were consumed in Georgia and Florida, and 18 homes were destroyed. More than 3,300 firefighters from 44 states, Canada and Puerto Rico came in to battle the blazes.”
Atlanta property management companies can help their tenants prepare for wildfires. Remember that fires can start in an instant and spread rapidly, particularly in the hot summer months. They are also dangerous, and fighting wildfires should be left to the professionals. Keep all of your important documents in a fire-proof box, and have digital copies saved as well. Ready.gov recommends having an emergency plan in place before a wildfire strikes. If you are evacuated due to a wildfire every minute counts.
In contrast to wildfires, house fires are common in Georgia. In the United States, the biggest cause of house fires is cooking, followed by heating, carelessness, and electrical malfunctions. Home fires occur most often in the fall and winter, according to the Red Cross. As a rental property owner, you can take a few steps to protect your property and tenants from a home fire.
- Remind your tenants about the increased danger of house fires during the fall and winter months. Make fire education part of your property management Atlanta routine.
- Provide fire extinguishers, and replace them as needed. Learn how to determine when your fire extinguisher needs to be replaced here.
- Instruct your tenant on how to put out a grease fire. Do not ever pour water on a grease fire. Turn off the heat source then smother the fire with baking soda, salt, or a tight-fitting lid. Not all fire extinguishers will work on grease fires. Find out more about putting out grease fires here.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, three out of five house fire deaths occurred in homes where smoke alarms were not present or not working. Make sure the smoke alarms in your rental property are working properly at all times, and remind your tenants not to take out the batteries. Smoke alarms should be replaced every ten years. To find out how old your smoke alarm is, look for the manufacture date on the back or side of the unit.
How Atlanta Property Management Prepares Tenants For Every Type of Emergency
In addition to the disasters listed above, Atlanta residents should be prepared to weather tornadoes, winter storms, terrorist attacks, and pandemics. Make sure your tenant knows who to call, and where to go if they are caught up in an emergency. After almost 30 years in property management, we have helped tenants navigate every type of disaster. The more prepared your tenants are beforehand, the better they will handle an emergency when it comes. Here are steps you can take to prepare your tenants for every type of emergency:
- Review emergency procedures at move-in, including information like where your tenant can find the water shut off valve.
- Provide a list of helpful phone numbers for every type of emergency.
- Recommend making a family disaster plan. For more information about family disaster plans visit this page.
- If a winter storm, thunderstorm, tornado, or other weather disaster is imminent remind your tenant to shelter in place until the disaster has passed.
- Remind your tenant to weatherize the property, such as covering outdoor faucets, before cold weather hits. This will prevent expensive maintenance emergencies for your property management Atlanta.
- Talk to your tenant about who to call in an emergency. Often a tenant will call their landlord when they should call 911, or vice versa. For example, if a tenant returns to their rental home and finds the home broken into they may call their landlord for help when they should call the police to report a break-in.
- After a disaster, remind your tenant to be cautious when returning to the property. Hazards like fallen trees or power lines may be present.
- If damage occurs after an emergency, tell your tenant to take pictures and make a list of damages to submit for insurance claims.
Our property managers are available 24/7 to help your tenants, emergency or not. Property owners around the Atlanta area trust Specialized Property Management Atlanta because they know we will be there when they call. To learn more about the services we offer, visit our services page.
Find More Information About Atlanta Property Management Emergency Preparedness
Where can you find more information about staying safe during an emergency? Atlanta’s Office of Emergency Preparedness offers recommendations and information here. Sign up for Atlanta’s emergency alert system, Notify ATL, here. Notify ATL provides information about road closures, missing persons, severe weather, evacuations, community events, and criminal activity. Learn about Georgia’s disaster history on the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency website here.
The property managers at Specialized Property Management Atlanta are available 24/7 to help you and your tenants weather any emergency. Schedule a professional rental management quote by calling 404-596-8454.