Terra News Managing Winter Weather – First Responders to the Rescue

22-Mar-2017

The Winter of 2017 is going down as a doozy across the US. On the West Coast there have been nonstop rains which brings flooding, road washouts, landslides, trees downed, electrical outages and hazardous road conditions. Montana had extreme weather at times 40 below this winter! East Coast has been hit with storms and hurricanes. Aren’t you glad your rental property is in Texas?

I have to say every time I see a natural disaster elsewhere I can’t help but thank my lucky stars that it isn’t me having to manage the cleanup.

Most landlords or investors only think of professional property managers as people who get tenants, handle everyday maintenance and collect rent. You have never probably thought of us as part of your First Responder Team!

We are proactive before the weather event hits. We will do such things as notify tenants how to handle emergencies, and to stock up on supplies and make sure that our maintenance team or vendors are prepared and on standby.

We ensure that our operating systems and software are constantly backed up offsite and on the cloud and arrangements have been made to be able to function in the event the office is damaged. This way we can continue to be reached by tenants and concerned property owners. I know of a property manager that didn’t have good offsite backups and their office burned to the ground. I can’t even imagine how they recovered from that. Just think of it all files lost, all data and computers lost, all keys lost. When Hurricane Ike blew over Houston, we lost power for almost a week, yet were prepared and able to function offsite and everything worked out just fine for us and our clients’ properties.

Just as the Fire Department advises property owners to clear brush away from homes, label circuit breakers, and have emergency supplies on hand we have a disaster plan. Some typical things that we routinely update monthly, quarterly, or annually are:

  • Have current insurance and emergency contact info for you and our tenants
  • Tenants are highly encouraged to have Renter’s Insurance
  • Our phone system is on the cloud with recordings and cell phone backups in event of emergency
  • All files including tenant leases, accounting, and maintenance files are electronic and backed up remotely
  • Vendor contact info is available on our cell phones as well as our property management software and accessible remotely.
  • We periodically conduct drills just like Fire and Police so if the unthinkable happens everyone knows what to do.

Once the event has passed it is up to the property manager to:

  • Assess damage
  • Get bids for repairs
  • Overseeing the repairs
  • Manage frazzled nerves of tenants which could mean finding alternate housing for them
  • Working with insurance companies to get reimbursed for damages

Once the weather event has passed the work has just begun. This is where your property manager earns their stripes. It is through our relationships with vendors that gets your property back up and habitable before others thus saving you money, and the headaches that go along with the cleanup. By having a plan and being prepared to put it into action when necessary your property management company is able to relieve not only your stress as the property owner but that of your tenants. They are truly the First Responders of Rentals.

Remember that if an emergency occurs our first priority during any emergency is to handle the situation, taking any necessary measures for the safety of your property and your tenants. Then, we will contact you as soon as we are able. Please don’t call the office to inquire about your rental. We’ll contact you if there is an issue.


TERRA Residential Services, Inc. CRMC®

14655 Northwest Freeway, Suite 124
Houston, TX 77040
800-275-7776 or 713-895-9966

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