Dealing with Rental Property Fire
Tom is one of our partners in Rental Management Guys. Not only does he work in the property management business for others, he also has 30+ properties of his own that he manages. Recently he had a fire in one of his single family homes. Here is his description of how that event unfolded:
As I pulled in exhausted from a MEA family trip up north with my 5 kids, 6 friends of theirs, a dog, a full trailer and a sore body- I received the EMERGENCY call from our property management phone service. Usually an EMERGENCY is defined as drippy faucet, leaky toilet or heat that will not come on… easy stuff to handle and walk people through fixes as needed. But when the word FIRE is related to the emergency… it is a game changer and gets your heart-moving! What happened? Anyone hurt? What do I do??!!
This is the second fire I have encountered at a rental, so needless to say it was just as scary as the first!
I live ten minutes from the property so I drove there with my trailer still attached to see what happened… everyone was OK and the fire department was just pulling away.
The kitchen was soaked and burnt. The home was a disaster. A dryer caught fire, no not the vent pipe clogged with lint, the fire started in the dryer itself for some inexplicable reason.
The tenant escaped safely with her kids… smoke alarms sounding loudly… ceiling was collapsed, wood floor covered in water, trim paint had bubbled up, light had melted, doors warped and bent…I immediately went into action with
- Take pictures/ video
- Start cleaning
- Get water up as fast as possible
- Try to prevent more damage from water
- Set fans to dry area/ dehumidifier if you have one
- Ask tenant if they have renters insurance
- Work on accommodations for the tenant (Red Cross will have been called by Fire Dept.)
- Get tenant safe… motel room or friends if they have them nearby.
- Electricity will be off/ try to turn on area not affected
- Gas will be shut off/ leave off
- Call your insurance company… adjuster needs to get there within 24 hrs.
- Expect a call from the city the next day too to see if home is habitable… if it is not, you’ll need to help tenant find accommodations and ask your insurance company about rental loss reimbursement.
- Go home, hug your kids, check the smoke detectors and have a beer.
Practical advice from the world of property management.
Experiencing a fire in your rental property can be a stressful situation. Jumping into action quickly and knowing what to do can reduce the damage to your home, your tenants possessions and quickly get your property back online and your tenants back into their home.