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Being a commercial landlord comes with many responsibilities, one of the most important of which is protecting the tenants and property in case of disasters. The speed and surprise with which dangerous crises could arise on your property mean that it’s vital that you’re prepared in case of worst-case scenarios.

However, unless you’ve had prior experience dealing with similar situations, it can be difficult to know exactly what you need to do. With this in mind, we’ve put together this useful guide that you can follow to properly respond to emergencies on your commercial property. So what steps should you take?

Plan Ahead

Advance preparation will determine how quickly you can act and protect your property when disaster strikes. Of course, you need comprehensive landlord insurance coverage but you also need to do your research and consult professionals on how you can best respond to emergencies such as fires and floods. Get advice from your lawyers, insurance provider and a restoration company or two. These experts will help you to cover your bases.

Contact your Insurance Provider

After the emergency has passed, your first action should be to immediately report what has happened to your insurance company. Making this call as soon as possible will help you to prevent delays or missed deadlines that could hamper the compensation process.

Regardless of your level of coverage, your insurance provider should be your first port of call. They can help you to understand what you’re up against and walk you through the process of filing a claim. They will also send an inspector to appraise the damage to the loss of inventory, contents, equipment and damage to the building itself. This will make your next job much easier.

Document the Damage

Don’t rely on the inspector. You should do a full inspection of your property yourself. Even though it feels overwhelming, you need to do this – the information that you gather will be invaluable in helping you to provide evidence and support your claim.

Divide the premises up into sections and go through each one methodically. Take regular breaks; go slowly and thoroughly to ensure that you miss as little as possible. Document the damage in several mediums – collect written, photographic and video documentation of the extent of the damage. If necessary, recruit a professional with experience with the type of disaster from which your property has suffered. Their insight may prove invaluable.

Communicate With Your Tenants

Your responsibilities don’t end at the property itself. You also need to account for your tenants – the last thing that you want is a lawsuit from renters whose rights have been violated. Notify them as to what they need to do following the emergency, clearly communicate where they need to go in the meantime and give them a timeframe for return as promptly as you can.

Have you experienced an emergency on your commercial property? How did you respond to the situation? Share your experience with us in the comments section.

Claire Preece