With all that 2020 delivered, you’d think the weather would take it easy on us in 2021. But hurricanes pay no mind to pandemics, social upheaval or political unrest. Hurricane season is coming. Is your HOA or condo association prepared?

This season is being forecasted as yet another active hurricane year. Major organizations like Global Weather Oscillations and researchers at Colorado State University, who have been publishing forecasts since the 1990s, are predicting the following ranges: 14-17 tropical storms, 8-11 hurricanes, and 3 to 4 major hurricanes (2 of which could be in the dangerously high impact category).

All of these are just predictions but they are based on decades of research and very accurate past prediction rates. The moral of the story? Be prepared for another doozy of a season.

Start with your Miami-Dade County hurricane preparedness guide.

Planning for the three stages of hurricanes

Here are our recommendations for weathering the storm before, during and after.

Before the storm:

  • Gather and regularly update contact information for all owners. You should also have a telephone roster for the board, management, maintenance personnel, and emergency service agencies. The roster should include their names, addresses, and phone numbers.
  • Safeguard your association’s official records. This may include the Articles of Incorporation, Declaration of Condominium, association by-laws, insurance policies, and more. All important documents should be stored safely. For example, saving files on a USB drive in a watertight container and off-site/in the cloud are good precautionary measures.
  • Take an inventory of your property – video and photograph the exterior property as well as interior common elements so you have records of the state of your facility prior to any damage. Again, be sure to store documentation in a safe location.
  • Locate your building and facilities plan and make sure they are accurate. They may be needed by vendors or insurance adjusters after the storm.
  • Review insurance policies – Understand your coverage and be sure to communicate with all owners about your insurance and liability.
  • Update a vendor list of services that will be most needed after a storm. Be sure to include contact information and a contact name if you have one.
  • Maintain property grounds and landscaping to minimize potential damage from debris.
  • Take inventory of emergency supplies as well as any supplies or property owned by the association, such as vans, golf carts, walkie-talkies, generators, etc.
  • Create a disaster/evacuation committee that is prepared to act in the event of an emergency.

During the storm:

  • Ensure that all records are safely backed up remotely, in the cloud, and/or in watertight containers.
  • Secure outdoor furniture, plants, etc. and protect the building’s windows and doors.
  • Host an emergency board meeting as necessary to discuss and implement the hurricane action plan.
  • Maintain strong communication with residents and communicate an evacuation order, if needed.

After the storm:

  • Survey and document any damage by taking pictures and video.
  • Continue communicating with unit owners to keep them informed of the property status and safety concerns.
  • Get in touch with your insurance company to files claims if any damage occurred.

How will your plan be communicated?

Those plans are great but how will all your residents receive the information they need? Utilize your community’s website, message board and any other effective forms of communication. Make sure that every resident knows the plan well beforehand. You may also want to conduct special hurricane preparedness meetings.

Having a safe and effective hurricane plan will not only keep your community members safe but it could also protect your association from liability should the worst occur as a result of hurricanes.

We wish you a safe and sound hurricane season. We are here for you if you need any further assistance with hurricane preparations.

Dania S. Fernandez, Esq. on FacebookDania S. Fernandez, Esq. on LinkedinDania S. Fernandez, Esq. on TwitterDania S. Fernandez, Esq. on Youtube
Dania S. Fernandez, Esq.
We offer legal assistance in all matters of condominium association law, homeowners and community association law, real estate litigations and transactions, residential and commercial closings, and insurance law.

We pride ourselves of our level of commitment to our clients. We love what we do, and we do it with utmost care and professionalism.

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