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When natural disasters hit rental homes

Our thoughts are with the people of Houston in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. The flooding is wreaking havoc for thousands of people, including countless rental home owners and tenants. Fortunately, in such strenuous times, both the owners and tenants have someone to help: their property manager.

What is the responsibility of a property manager if a property is hit by a natural disaster?

A. Inform the property owner
B. Allow the tenant the option to break the lease
C. Repair any damage from the disaster
D. Document the problem
E. All of the above

The answer is E: All of the above

Tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, and fires are all disasters affecting thousands of people every year. For us in Middle Tennessee, we have experience with fires and tornadoes. As a home owner, insurance generally helps with many problems, including assistance with alternate housing. But what about renters? What is the responsibility of Real Property Management Rental Solutions to our home owners and our tenants?

All rentals must provide the basics: electricity, water, heat, plumbing, weatherproofing and a structurally safe and sanitary environment. While landlord-tenant laws vary from state to state and even county to county, most state that if a rental unit fails to meet these basic needs, a tenant is under no obligation to remain in the unit and, depending on your state laws and lease terms, allowed to terminate the lease and receive their deposit in full.

On the other hand, if there is damage to a portion of the home but the basic needs are met, we work quickly to fix it. Many times, further damage can result if repairs are not made in a timely manner. Therefore, having a reliable property manager on the job can save the homeowner considerable repair money.

With severe weather, we at Real Property Management Rental Solutions are your first line of defense. We are here to help when there are issues stemming from natural disasters, repairs and maintenance, and landlord-tenant laws and responsibilities.

We pray for the safety of the people of Houston and the surrounding areas and for the swift recovery of their homes.