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7 Ways to Safeguard Your Condo Against Severe Weather

It's almost hurricane season — how prepared are you for the potential disaster? Cities like Miami are more vulnerable to extreme weather events during storm months. Property managers and residents must work together to minimize damage and financial loss, and protect themselves. Learn some tips to increase your preparedness during strong winds and heavy rains.


palm trees blowing in the wind


How Are Condos Affected During Extreme Weather?

The worst weather can affect even high-rise buildings with robust structural systems, leaving damage that costs a lot to repair. Here are three ways a natural disaster can ruin your property.


Structural Damage

High winds can weaken the structures of condos and apartment buildings. A category 1 hurricane with a wind speed of 119–153 kilometers per hour can damage roofs and flying debris can break windows in condos. The higher the category, the more destructive it is.


Water Infiltration

Heavy rains can get in through window cracks, leading to flooding, mold, and damage to furniture and appliances.


Power Outages

While living in condos is safer because of their enhanced security systems that provide another layer of protection, power interruption during hurricanes can deactivate all these features and risk tenants' safety.


Importance of Protecting Your Condo Unit

Reinforce your property's weather-resistant capabilities for peace of mind. Business-wise, you should do so for the following reasons:


  • Ensure resident safety: The structural integrity of your condo is directly linked to the safety and well-being of the residents.

  • Preserve property value: By taking a preventive stance, you can minimize repair costs and maintain the condo's market worth.

  • Legal obligations: While every state has laws regulating a property manager's activities, one general requirement is to follow through with all maintenance tasks, including protecting the complex and the residents in it.


7 Strategies to Safeguard Your Condo Unit

Preparedness may not entirely save the property from damage, but it can mitigate financial loss and help you respond promptly in case of unexpected events. Here's a quick checklist to ensure you're at least protected.


1. Review Your Insurance Policy

Part of your readying should be reviewing your coverage. Most condo insurance provides a cushion against disasters like wind and hail. However, it typically excludes floor insurance, so you need to purchase a separate policy. The Federal Emergency Management Agency mandates residential condominium association coverage on properties where 75% of the square footage is occupied by homeowners.


You must also ensure condo unit owners understand the scope of the coverage, as other policies don't cover personal belongings. They must know the risks associated with living on the property.


2. Inspect Windows and Doors

Homeowners in Florida take hurricane preparedness seriously, so windows in condos are often impact-resistant. Doing so is a requirement of the Florida Building Code for properties 1 mile from the coast, where wind speed can reach 130 mph.


While this feature gives everyone peace of mind, you must encourage residents to further reinforce or waterproof their windows and doors by inspecting them for wear and gaps. Sealing tiny openings and strengthening frames can provide extra support to brace the impact. Adding impact-resistant film to the glass reduces the risk of shattering.


3. Hire a Professional for Reinforcement Tasks

You may be unable to check everything, so enlist a professional contractor to help you identify areas vulnerable to strong winds and rain. They can check the windows, doors and exterior walls, and perform reinforcement tasks whenever necessary.


Doing so is beneficial for older buildings with debatable structures. Fixing these things in advance can curb the risk of damage and ensure you can recover quickly.


4. Address the Risks of Landscaping and Drainage

Trees block winds and affect power lines if blown out of the ground. Trimming is essential to prevent damage and allow wind to flow freely through the branches. Plus, it increases the trees' overall strength and helps them stay upright. Hire a professional arborist to deal with the landscaping — they know the best ways to prune trees that allow them to withstand harsh weather.


Another thing to check is the gutters and drain lines, which must be free from any debris that may block the water flow and cause flooding. If necessary, install French drains or any drainage system to carry the water away from the condo.


5. Secure Outdoor Items

Property managers are responsible for securing common areas such as carports, electrical and plumbing systems, swimming pools, and elevators. Provide alternative parking spaces for residents if the area is flood-prone. If a power outage happens, elevators and HVAC systems may not work, so you should have a plan in place. Unit owners must have flashlights and emergency supplies if electricity is cut off.


Property managers are also responsible for bringing outdoor tables and chairs in to avoid displacement or damage. Flying objects from top floors can cause serious accidents for people driving or walking on the streets.


6. Prepare a Survival Kit

Extreme hurricanes can ruin electricity lines and cause outages for weeks. You must stock sufficient emergency supplies that include first aid kits, batteries, flashlights, food and water since access to these essentials may be severed, especially if flooding happens. Ensuring you have all these items can help you counter what's to come.


7. Create an Emergency Plan

Prepare an actionable plan in case of the worst scenario. It should cover everything from evacuation routes or exits to emergency contact information and coordination with local authorities. Multiple types of crises can happen during a hurricane — categorize them and provide easy-to-follow actions for the staff and residents. If you handle a larger property, assign people to serve as safety committees to help you manage the preparation process seamlessly.


Prioritize Preparedness During Hurricane Season

Being prepared can keep hurricane damage to a minimum. If you're living in Miami or any of the cities prone to natural disasters, know the basic strategies to protect your property and its people. Follow the tips outlined here to enhance the property’s resilience against severe weather events and protect residents.


Evelyn Long is a writer that specializes in housing market trends. She is also the founder of Renovated Magazine, where she writes essential resources for renters and homeowners. She has contributed to several other sites like National Association of Realtors and Realty Executives. Subscribe to renovated.com/subscribe for more posts by Evelyn.

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