Part 2: Are You Prepared for the 2021 Hurricane Season?
According to the NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, its Climate Prediction Center (CPC) has updated the averages for the Atlantic hurricane season to reflect more anticipated storms in the upcoming year . . . are you prepared?
Due to storms and hurricanes that have historically impacted Florida, DSK Law has had the opportunity to assist many individuals and small businesses with legal issues related to the aftereffects of storm damage. In past consultations with our clients, we have identified certain frequently
asked questions or concerns as indicated below which may be helpful to you this hurricane season.
Question: What can a tenant do if a rental unit suffers damage from a storm or hurricane and landlord has not repaired the damage?
Answer: Subject to the terms of any written lease, a tenant typically must mail or hand deliver a 7-day notice to the landlord to fix or repair the damages, unless the repairs are the tenant’s obligation in the lease. If the landlord makes a reasonable effort to cure the violation within 7 days, or if the noncompliance is
beyond the landlord’s control, the tenant cannot terminate the lease unless the unit is uninhabitable. However, the tenant may be able, after providing the notice, to withhold all the rent if the premises are uninhabitable, or if the tenant still lives in the premises, an amount in proportion to the loss of rental value caused by the noncompliance. Remember, a tenant does not have any of these rights until the required notice to fix or repair is mailed or hand delivered to the landlord.
Question: If I am renting an apartment and my personal property is damaged due to a hurricane or storm, what recourse do I have?
Answer: Hopefully, you have renter’s insurance. If so, you should contact your insurance company and report your loss. If not, you should see if the landlord’s policy will cover your losses.
Question: Am I as a tenant liable for damage caused by a hurricane to rental property?
Answer: We will need to review your lease, however, generally, the landlord will probably be responsible unless you were negligent in some aspect that resulted in the damage.
Question: My insurance company sent me a check payable to my name and that of the mortgage company. Why must the mortgage company endorse the check?
Answer: As a general rule insurance companies issue this type of check because as required by the mortgage documents, your mortgage company is an additional insured on the insurance policy. The mortgage company is includes this requirement as a condition to loan because it has a lien on your property in the amount of the outstanding mortgage and therefore, has a vested interest in seeing that all the necessary repairs are completed in a workmanlike manner.
Therefore, most mortgage companies have the right to require a homeowner to endorse the insurance check and deliver the funds to the mortgage company to be disbursed by the company periodically as the repairs are made. The mortgage company also may have the right to inspect the repairs before it releases the money. Depending on the extent of the damage and the amount of equity that the owner has in the property, the mortgage company may not require that the funds be held by it and may endorse the check and provide it to the homeowner. It is suggested that you contact your mortgage company to discuss the specific guidelines.
Please note that this information is
provided for educational and informational purposes only, and it is based on the present state of the law without application to specific facts which may exist in a particular case. As such, if you have any issue following a storm then we encourage you to seek the advice of an attorney.