In South Florida, we are always preparing for hurricanes and storms, and your rental property needs to be protected. When purchasing a property, any investor needs to see what type of hurricane protection the property has. This protection is not only for hurricanes, but any tropical storm, and even strong winds that can end up damaging a property.
The best hurricane protection in single family homes is impact windows. The building code now requires that a house built today must come with some type of hurricane protection. Impact windows are the best protection, and the cost has come down lately. Most builders prefer to use these.
Of course, the other type of hurricane protection is shutters. Shutters are less expensive than impact windows, and you can see new houses with shutters installed. If you go back to the 1990s and early 2000s, you’ll see that most houses were built with some kind of shutters. Accordion shutters are easy to close during storms, or there are also panel shutters that require a little extra manpower. Older homes often don’t have any protection, and sometimes you’ll see people installing plywood to protect the windows. But plywood can damage the structure of the property and the window seals. So, it creates a problem. However, if there is no other type of protection and a storm approaches South Florida, the plywood is an emergency solution to protect the house.
Cost and Insurance
If you don’t have hurricane shutters or impact windows, the cost of installing them on your property is well worth the investment. It will lower the insurance coverage that you need for wind storms. So, you’ll save on your insurance premium and your property will be protected, which is what you want – to preserve the asset.
Include Responsibilities in the Lease
It’s important to clearly define in your lease agreement who is responsible for installing the shutters or taking care of protection against storms. Our policy is that the tenant is responsible for installing shutters as long as the property has them already. We don’t require the tenant to go out and buy plywood to protect the property if there isn’t anything already there. That’s up to the owner and the property manager.
In most properties we manage, we provide hurricane shutters, unless the property already comes with impact glass. With panel shutters that need to be installed, we provide a floor plan of the property indicating where the panels go. They are properly marked so the tenant can secure the property and knows how to install them. Accordion shutters simply require the tenants to close them.
Installing the shutters or the impact glass makes economic sense. If you don’t have any type of protection, you should really consider installing at least the panel shutters. You want to be safe and save money. We also recommend each property owner performs wind inspections on a regular basis.