Preparing your building and residents for a weather emergency, natural disaster or power outage is absolutely critical. Furthermore, landlords have a legal obligation to maintain habitable conditions in residential buildings, including following storm-related or other damage. Habitable conditions include providing essential services like electricity, hot water and heat (during the coldest months of the year), and ensuring that physical conditions do not threaten the life, health, or safety of tenants.
How do I prepare for an emergency?
- Develop an Emergency Evacuation Plan, communicate it to all tenants and post it throughout the building:
- Include relocation contingencies, such as location of the nearest emergency shelter, available units in other buildings within your portfolio, transportation for tenants, etc.
- Consider implementing site security as needed.
- Know disaster signage requirements.
- If you house vulnerable populations, be sure to:
- Have up-to-date contact information for tenants and their families.
- Have a plan for maintaining necessary on-site services and accessing residents’ medical records if needed. The City might have special assistance for these individuals if they choose to shelter in place.
- Check in on your tenants before and after the event to see if assistance is required.
- Implement a resiliency plan
- Consider access to a generator and mobile steam unit, how much fuel is stored, how to keep hallways and stairwells lit, etc.
How do I respond to an emergency?
- Communicate With Your Tenants:
- If your building has sustained damage and you are working on making repairs, let your tenants know, especially if you are experiencing delays. Keep tenants informed of repair progress and let them know of any intermediary solutions you can provide.
- If heat is affected, please take any steps recommended by your plumbers or other professionals to keep pipes from freezing, as this may cause additional damage to your property and further delay restoration of services.
- Have your property management company or superintendent conduct an immediate assessment of your property post-event:
- City agencies may be contacting you, or conducting physical inspections of the property to see if there is damage to the property.
- If the City contacts you by phone or email, respond quickly and appropriately:
- Assistance will reach you faster, or, if you do not require assistance, City resources can be properly directed.
To our investors in Edmonton and Calgary, thank you for taking th time to read this post. Are you prepared for an emergency? What steps have we forgotten that are important? We look forward to reading your comments.