How to Prepare Your House (or Rental) for Hurricane Evacuation!

How to Prepare Your House (or Rental) for Hurricane Evacuation!

This is the second post in a two part series about how to prepare your house for a Hurricane. The first post, How to Prepare for a Hurricane as a Landlord, can be found here.

As a landlord, homeowner or tenant, preparing your house (or Rental) for hurricane evacuation is scary business. You are leaving your home and hoping that the best occurs when you return after the storm. Here are some tips to help you prepare your house (or Rental) for Hurricane Evacuation:

(Not evacuating yet? How to Prepare for a Hurricane as a Landlord, will help you get your house ready for the storm and even has a letter to you tenant on how to prepare)

Preparing The House

  • Bring in all Outside Furniture, Toys, Lawn Ornaments, Garbage Can, Grill, Etc- You want to leave nothing outside that could be lifted up and become a flying object that could hit your house or a neighbor’s house.
  • Put Furniture and Important items on Second Floor away from Windows – The first floor and areas will be the first to flood. So put everything that is valuable and important to you as high as possible. Keep in mind window location, as windows are the least strong area of your house and could break during the storm.  **Don’t forget about items hanging on the walls**
  • Remove All Important Items From Garages and Basements– Typically garages and basements are the first to flood. So keep this in mind when you are storing important items.
  • Put 2ft of Sand Bags in Front of all the Doors, Low Windows and other Entry Points- The front door, the back door and the door leading into garage, and the garage door itself.
  • Put Up Hurricane Shutters If Applicable -If applicable, put up Hurricane shutters on all the windows.
  • Downspouts– Make sure drain downspouts are pointed away from the home. These are important to check as sometime they get moved by kids or lawn guys.
  • Clear All Drains– Make sure leaves are cleared away from the drains and drainage path in the streets. This is especially important in the fall when leaves are falling.
  • Turn Off the Breakers/Gas/Water (As Applicable)- Power surges are not uncommon when power is restored. Also unplug as many electronics as possible and remove those electronics and place them in areas that are not near windows or directly on the floor.
  • Freeze Water Bottles  – If you put frozen water bottles in the freezer and fridge it helps keep cold longer, prolonging the time your food will remain cold.
  • Verify Sump Pump is working– Verify the sump pump is working if applicable.

Preparing Yourself for Evacuation

  • Cash – Make sure you get cash out in case places become cash only due to power outages that will stop ATM’s or businesses from working.
  • Fill Up Gas in Your Cars– Make sure each of your cars being used in the evacuation has a full tank of gas. You may even want to bring full gas cans with you (make sure they are stored according to manufacturer’s safety instructions.)
  • Personal Documents– Take important documents, spare keys, paperwork, valuables, external hard drives, and guns with you. Don’t forget the rules about conceal carry when going across states lines.
  • Pets– Make sure you have everything your pets need to include food, water and medication.

As a landlord with 8 houses and counting it is scary enough to find out that your house is in the direct path of the storm and your tenants are evacuating. It is even scarier when your tenants go, “We are evacuating what do we need to do?!” and scrambling to put a checklist together. After going through one of these days myself, I put together the above checklist and the following letter to my tenants. I hope it helps you alleviate some stress in an already stressful time.

**Please note, every person and situation is different. None of this post or website provides legal advice. Some houses have sump pumps, hurricane shutters or detailed leases with specific tenant responsibilities. The below letter is based on our circumstances that have none of those items. Hope this helps! ”

Letter to My Tenants that are Evacuating

If you are a landlord, keeping your tenant informed of ways to protect your house is very important. Here is a mock email I have used to send to my tenants to help them prepare for evacuation. Obviously you should change it as needed.

Hey,

I have put together this checklist to help you shut the house down in case of evacuation. Hope it helps!  Please use this checklist as a guide. If 30% of the neighbors are doing something or you feel like something should or shouldn’t be done, please give me a call. I appreciate you being my eyes and ears; helping me make sure everything is done to protect both your property and the house.

Preparing The House

  • Bring in all Outside Furniture, Toys, Lawn Ornaments, Garbage Can, Grill, Etc- You want to leave nothing outside that could be lifted up and become a flying object that could hit your house or a neighbor’s house.
  • Put Furniture and Important items on Second Floor away from Windows – The first floor and garage areas will be the first to flood. So put everything that is valuable and important to you as high as possible. Keep in mind window location as windows are the least strong area of your house and could break during the storm.  **Don’t forget about items hanging on the walls**
  • Remove All Important Items From Garages and Basements– Typically garages and basements are the first to flood. So keep this in mind when you are storing important items.
  • Put Sand Bags in Front of all the Doors, Low Windows and other Entry Points- The front door, the back door and the door leading into garage, and then the garage door.
  • Downspouts– Make sure drain downspouts are pointed away from the home. These are important to check as sometime they get moved by kids or lawn guys.
  • Clear All Drains– Make sure leaves are cleared away from the drains and drainage path in the streets. This is especially important in the fall when the leaves are falling.
  • Turn Off the Breakers/Water (As Applicable)- Power surges are not uncommon when power is restored. Also unplug as many electronics as possible and don’t place those electronics near windows or directly on the floor.
  • Freeze Water Bottles  – If you put frozen water bottles in the freezer and fridge it helps keep cold longer, prolonging the time your food will remain cold.

I am sure you thought of everything that you personally need but here are a few key things you might want to consider:

Preparing Yourself for Evacuation

  • Cash – Make sure you get cash out in case places become cash only due to power outages that will stop ATM’s or businesses from working.
  • Fill Up Gas in Your Cars– Make sure each of your cars being used in the evacuation has a full tank of gas. You may even want to bring full gas cans with you (make sure they are stored according to manufacturer’s safety instructions.)
  • Personal Documents– Take important documents, spare keys, paperwork, valuables, external hard drives, and guns with you. Don’t forget the rules about conceal carry when going across states lines.
  • Pets– Make sure you have everything your pets need to include food, water and medication.

I would really appreciate it you could keep in touch with me regarding both your evacuation and the condition of the house. I am here if you need anything.

Thank you,

{Insert Landlord’s Name}

Additional Resources:

For more information about how to prepare check out the below resources:

FEMA- How to Prepare for a Hurricane

We hope this helps everyone prepare for the hurricane.

Stay Safe!!!

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