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Landlord Responsibilities Before & After a Hurricane


January 15, 2019

Written by:

Abhi Sreerama

Houston residents survived terrible hurricane aftermath following Hurricane Harvey’s destruction of the city. If you are a homeowner, repairing damaged property following a hurricane falls solely on you. Unfortunately for many homeowners, insurance did not cover the flooding costs and expenses endured following Harvey’s aftermath. However, what about all those individuals that are renting? Are their possessions lost forever? What are the landlord responsibilities? Should the property owner be liable for those expenses? Keyrenter Houston has some tips and insight that may help property owners and renters understand what to do before and after a hurricane.

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Assess Property Damage

After a hurricane, walk around the structure and inside the structure to determine the extent of the damage. The landlord normally has liability insurance, which covers all or a portion of the costs to repair the structure. Anything that is part of the building itself will fall on the landlord to repair.

Landlords need to make repairs quickly and diligently. Leaks in the roof and cracks in the walls are not safe and livable conditions. Tenants may need to relocate and some tenants can even hold you liable to pay for hotel expenses. Acting promptly is the best way to reduce additional costs. As a property owner, do your best to communicate with your tenants and keep them aware of the updates to the property. Being upfront is the best way to help renters know the situation and if they should consider relocating.

Damage to Possessions

Property owners are not liable for damage to a tenant’s possessions that have been damaged following a hurricane. Renters need to consider investing in renter’s liability insurance to protect their possessions and prevent expensive costs from occurring due to a major disaster like a hurricane. Renters should study their policy to see what is covered and what is not covered. Following the aftermath of Harvey, it is a good time to take a look at your policy now and consider obtaining more coverage to protect your possessions from a future hurricane.

If renters are on a property where the landlord provided furniture, the landlord is on the hook for the replacement costs. Major appliances will need to be replaced or repaired by the landlord if they were damaged. Like the exterior, the landlord must provide an interior that is livable.

Working Together

One of the best things landlords and tenants can do after a hurricane is to work together. Landlords need to be lenient to renters and renters need to be reasonable. Major repairs can take weeks or months to repair. If both parties discuss the situation and work together, it may help to reduce the financial stress and burden for both the landlord and the tenant. Discuss a timeframe for the repairs and what can be done to make the property livable once again. Some landlords find it possible to reduce rent while repairs are being made as they will still need the income to help pay for the repairs, but feel it is not fair to charge a tenant for rent when the home is not livable. For more information on how to handle hurricane repairs to your rental property, contact Keyrenter Houston today.


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