Hurricane Dorian Approaches Florida... What Are Your Responsibilities as a Renter?
Updated: Sep 27, 2019
If you live in an area prone to hurricanes, I'm sure you've heard warnings about what you need to do before a hurricane: fill up your vehicles with gas, buy bottled water, stock up on food, get batteries / flashlights, etc. Sadly, not everyone heeds these warnings - some kick back and hope that the storm will turn and not hit them. I've even heard people say that because Leesburg isn't on the coast, we don't need to worry. That's absolutely not true! We were here during Hurricane Irma a few years back - we were lucky in that we didn't lose power during the storm. Others weren't so lucky and they found themselves without electricity for two weeks! Without electricity, people with well water found themselves without access to one of our most basic needs. I was surprised to find out that people with city sewer can run into difficulty during storms, especially if there are powered sump pumps that carry waste water out of homes in communities.
I started to wonder exactly who was responsible for hurricane preparation here in Florida - the homeowner or the renter. When Hurricane Irma hit back in 2017, I was surprised to hear that there was no law on the books that stated that homeowners were responsible to protect their properties from tropical systems like hurricanes. You would automatically assume that the homeowner would want to secure their property and in doing so, protect their tenants. However, that's not the case. Regardless of which state you're located in, it's important that you do some research and find out about the laws in your state regarding responsibility of landlords and tenants in storms. Some leases may specifically address this but many do not.
As a renter, it's ultimately your responsibility to protect your family and your belongings. That can be difficult, especially if the owner doesn't want you doing work on the property. This could include things like boarding up windows, installing a generator, and so on. For this reason, it's important to have good communication between you and the homeowner prior to disasters striking. What will they allow you to do? What are their plans for what they'll do prior to a storm? Before signing your next lease, it may be a good idea to make sure these questions are addressed in it.
In the meantime, I've put together a collection of websites that discuss preparing for a hurricane and staying safe during one.
FEMA's Hurricane Preparedness Suggestions - creating an emergency plan, supplies you'll need, securing your home, sheltering, evacuation tips, and more
Florida Disaster.Org's Division of Emergency Management - emergency information specific to the current hurricane including storm information, executive orders, creating a plan, evacuation zones, and links to other helpful sites
Lake County's Hurricane Preparedness Web Guide - general knowledge about hurricanes and tropical storms, making a plan, and after the storm resources like utility outage contact information, staying healthy & safe, etc.
Lake County Florida Emergency Management's Facebook Page - stay up to date before, during, and after the storm
Leesburg's Emergency Preparedness Information - details about the current storm, locations of free sandbags for resident, contact information (citizen information line, police, fire, outages, leaks, etc), emergency shelters (should they be opened), and links to other helpful sites
The next time you need to search for a Leesburg Florida rental, check out our available rental properties in gated communities with amenities!