Natural disasters can happen anytime and can hit anywhere. Whether a tornado, flood, earthquake, or fire, natural disasters cause extensive property damage and displace thousands of people every year. The aftermath of a natural disaster is widespread damage and hassle for homeowners and renters leaving them with more questions and concerns about what to do. As a landlord, it is part of your responsibilities to address damages to the rental home, as well as your tenants’ concerns. The extent of these responsibilities depends on whether your Friendswood property is still habitable or not.
First of all, rental homes have to be suitable for human habitation. Regardless of location, the law states that all rentals must provide a tenant with water, heat, electricity, and a sanitary and structurally safe building. Although the specific regulations are not the same in all places, some rules do specify that if in case a rental home does not meet the criteria, a tenant is under no obligation to pay rent and may even cancel the lease. In some cases, they may also be eligible to receive their security deposit immediately in full.
If a natural disaster in Friendswood damages a rental home, an immediate assessment of the damage must be done soon after. It also has to be thoroughly documented, in case there may be some questions later on. If the damage is minimal and the tenant will be displaced for only a matter of days or weeks, your responsibilities would be to make sure that the damages are repaired as promptly as possible. Your tenant may still be obligated to meet the terms of the lease, as well as pay to repair or replace any damage to their personal property.
If, however, the damage is extensive, or the repairs will take several months or more, it is the responsibility of the owner to determine how to handle the lease. If the home is uninhabitable, you may need to release your renter from the lease and return the security deposit in full. A tenants’ security deposit cannot be used to pay for damages caused by a natural disaster. Additionally, if the natural disaster strikes close to the beginning of the month or immediately after a month’s rent has been paid, the landlord may have a responsibility to return that month’s rent to the renter.
Knowing how to respond after a natural disaster and which steps to take regarding the lease, rental payments, and security deposits is something the experts at Real Property Management Prestige have years of experience with. With our team on your side, you can stay calm and confident in the knowledge that even when disaster hits, your Friendswood rental properties are in the best possible hands. Please contact us online or call us at 281-532-5455 for more information.
We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.