Florida Law Doesn’t Require Landlords to Protect Rental Property During Storms
Florida homeowners take special precautions whenever a hurricane, tropical storm or other severe weather event is in the forecast. They bring in outdoor furniture, board up windows and take other necessary steps to protect their homes from heavy wind, rain and other weather-related damage.
But what if you don’t own your home? What if you are a renter instead? While you might think your landlord will take storm preparation measures, Florida law does not explicitly require landlords to protect their rental properties or tenants from severe weather. Some landlords will take these precautions, but others will not. And some landlords won’t even allow their tenants to prepare their rental homes.
Renters Left Unprotected During Hurricane Irma
About one in seven Florida residents lives in an apartment, according to the National Multifamily Housing Council. Two of those residents are Emily Moll and Ryan Rose, whose Orlando rental home was destroyed by Hurricane Irma. They were forced to evacuate when a pecan tree fell onto the house, making it uninhabitable. Unfortunately, their rental agreement says that deposits will not be refunded in the event of a natural disaster, which means they might not get their $1,500 deposit back.
Other renters wanted to board their windows before Irma struck, but management wouldn’t allow it. It’s frustrating when landlords who refuse to take storm preparation measures won’t let tenants take matters into their own hands.
Storm Preparation Steps Renters Can Take
Even renters whose leases leave them unprotected in the event of a natural disaster can take steps to protect themselves and their personal belongings. Here are three things all Florida renters should do:
- Most importantly, renters should purchase a renter’s insurance policy. Often landlords will require tenants to purchase a policy, but renters should do this regardless to protect their personal property.
- Keep copies of all important documents, including passports, birth certificates, and your renter’s insurance policy. A waterproof and fireproof safety deposit box is a good place to keep these documents.
- Create an emergency preparedness kit. This might include cash, bottled water, nonperishable foods and prescription medications.
Will My Landlord’s Property Insurance Protect Me?
No. Landlords typically purchase a DP-3 insurance policy, which is a dwelling and fire policy that covers apartment buildings and other residential property. This policy is designed to protect landlords, not renters. A DP-3 policy covers personal liability, losses to the building structure and loss of rent. It does not cover a tenant’s personal belongings. That’s why renters should be sure to purchase a renter’s insurance policy.
Let Us Help You Today
Contact an Orlando insurance attorney at The Pendas Law Firm today for a free consultation if you are involved in an insurance claim dispute. We will guide you through the claims process and help you recover for your losses. Additionally, we can answer questions about your rights under Florida insurance law if you are a renter whose property was damaged during a severe weather event.
The Pendas Law Firm also represents clients in the Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, West Palm Beach, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Miami, Daytona Beach and Bradenton areas.