Natural disasters can strike any area and time. Whether a tornado, flood, earthquake, or fire, natural disasters cause extensive property damage and displace thousands of people every year. When a natural disaster happens, and there is damage to the rental property in its aftermath, landlords have specific responsibilities to their renters way past addressing the damage to the rental home. The coverage of these responsibilities depends on whether your Shrewsbury property is still habitable or not.
Rental homes have to be fit for human habitation. Regardless of location, the law asserts that all rentals must provide a tenant with water, heat, electricity, and a sanitary and structurally safe building. Although the precise regulations are not the same in all places, some rules do stipulate that if in case a rental home does not satisfy the criteria, a tenant is under no obligation to pay rent and may even cancel the lease. In some cases, they may also be qualified to receive their security deposit shortly after and in full amount.
An assessment should be done immediately after a natural disaster in Shrewsbury occurs so that the damage can be determined. The whole process should also be thoroughly documented if in case questions arise later. If the damage is minimal and the tenant will be displaced for only a few days or weeks, then your job as the owner is to fix the damage as promptly as possible. Your tenant could still be obligated to meet the terms of the lease, as well as pay to rebuild or replace any damage to their personal property.
If, however, the damage is extensive, or the repairs will take several months or more, it is the responsibility of the owner to determine how to handle the lease. If the home is uninhabitable, you may need to release your renter from the lease and return the security deposit in full. A tenants’ security deposit cannot be used to pay for damages caused by a natural disaster. Besides, if the natural disaster strikes close to the beginning of the month or immediately after a month’s rent has been paid, the landlord may have a responsibility to return that month’s rent to the renter.
Being aware of what to do and how to respond after a natural disaster and which steps to take regarding the lease, rental payments, and security deposits is one of the many things the experts at Real Property Management Metro West-Worcester have years of experience with. With our team on your side, you can stay cool and assured in the knowledge that even when disaster hits, your Shrewsbury rental properties are in the best possible hands. Please contact us online or call us at 508-329-6000 for more information.
We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.