Florida, which has had a recent surge of hurricanes this year, has no law that really requires landlords to protect their rental properties or tenants from hurricanes.
“Almost every state requires a landlord to provide a habitable residence for the tenant and nearly every lease will include a similar clause,” said Daniel Watts, a California-based real estate lawyer.
“The problem is that before a hurricane strikes, the house is still inhabitable,” Watts added. “It’s only after the hurricane hits that the [residence] becomes uninhabitable and the landlord’s duty to repair is triggered.”
A Landlords Duty
Experts determined that it’s in a landlord’s own self-interest to preserve the property and safeguard their rent-paying tenant. This is especially significant, considering these apartment dwellers make up to 13 percent of Florida’s entire population, according to the National Multifamily Housing Council.
But that still leaves hurricane preparation as an option that the landlord may not be involved in.
“There may be some cases where there is a gray area where leases don’t specifically address who’s responsible for storm preparation,” said Ashleigh Cloud Trent, insurance advisor with Dallas-based Swingle Collins and Associates.
Before Hurricane Irma hit Florida, some residents even complained about the lack of assistance from landlords, some of whom would not allow residents to use generators or install shutters over their windows.
With this in mind, it’s up to the tenant to decide what to do to protect their personal belongings and keep their families safe.
A Tenant’s Responsibility
Floridians aren’t the only ones that need to understand their rights and protections as a renter.
For instance, when you are living in an apartment, your possessions are not protected by your landlord’s insurance policy. You need to have your own policy to protect your own belongings.
Most renters do not know this and end up being out of luck when something bad happens.
Renters Insurance is one way of covering for these kinds of situations and is essential for any would-be renter. There is Personal Property Coverage, which will reimburse you if your personal belongings, such as clothing and furniture, are stolen or damaged by something like a fire.
There is Family Liability Protection, which will help pay for another person’s property that you are at fault for damage.
Finally, there is Guest Medical Protection, which will help pay medical expenses for someone who is injured in your residence.