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Lessons From Irma: How Associations & Property Managers Can Prepare

Peak hurricane season in Florida is almost upon us. And that means it's time for associations and property managers to gear up for potential storm damage.

Although this season is forecasted to be a mild one, there's no telling for sure when another big one will hit. Far too many property managers and owners were caught off guard by the record-breaking tempests of 2017. Best to prepare for the worst by building upon the lessons from Irma.

Steps To Take Before The Storm Hits

Storm-proofing involves much more than boarding up windows in the frantic hours before landfall. You can take critical steps now, before the storm hits, to support any insurance claims you may need to file down the road.

Take the time to establish a paper trail by:

  • Advising owners to create thorough inventories of their personal property and individual units
  • Documenting the condition of the premises (including common areas, windows, balconies and exteriors) with detailed photos and descriptions

What To Do After The Dust Settles

Should a major hurricane make landfall, it's important to document the damage as soon as it's safe to do so. Take detailed photos to compare with the "before" photos. For hard-to-reach areas like roofs, hire a trusted professional to survey the damage. And if structural damage is a possibility, you may need an engineer to evaluate the property.

Proceed With Caution On Repairs/Remediation

In the wake of Hurricane Irma, the affected areas became targets for sloppy contractors (and even unscrupulous workers posing as licensed contractors) to drum up business. If repairs are needed, take the time to thoroughly vet potential contractors. Consult with an attorney for guidance on both who to hire and how to structure the contract. A lawyer can help you avoid costly missteps.

Free Seminar And Brunch For Association Managers

Learn more about how to prepare for the upcoming hurricane season (and its aftermath) by attending an upcoming panel discussion, "Things You Never Knew That Took Place After Irma," on Thursday, August 23rd at the Sarasota Yacht Club (1100 John Ringling Blvd, 34236) from 10:30 am to 12:00 pm. The event is free and includes a complimentary brunch. You can register online or by phone at 888-883-9441.

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