In Case of Emergency, Part II….

In Case of Emergency…
July 8, 2016
Oh $%^^!!!! My Tenant just declared Bankruptcy!
July 11, 2016
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In Case of Emergency, Part II….

So yesterday I posed this hypothetical question of:  “What would you do if your Tenant was incapacitated and a friend of theirs needs access to the property to pick things up?” (http://danbaldini.com/2016/07/08/in-case-of-emergency/)

If your lease agreement doesn’t contain specific language and data to address this situation, you as the landlord or property manager are in a tough spot.
Do you deny access to the friend or do you allow him access to the tenant’s personal property?
How do you know he isn’t a scam artist?
How do you know he is not perhaps an identify thief who happens to know the tenant is traveling out of the country and unreadable for a few more weeks?
Fact is, unless you have protocols in place prior to this event happening, you simply don’t know and you are unprepared to deal with it appropriately.
Not a fun position to be in, is it?
Here’s some suggestions to put into your standard protocols to help you through turbulent times:
  1. On your rental applications, make it a requirement for each adult residing in your rental to identify an Emergency Contact person.  Have them provide the following information for each person:
    1. First and Last Name
    2. Phone number
    3. Email address
    4. Relationship to the tenant
  2. In your lease agreement itself, have language which the tenant agrees to allow their choice of person(s) to be permitted to access the property in case of the tenant’s incapacitation or other emergency.  (These people may or may not be the same as the people the tenant puts on their rental applications, thus why it’s always a good protocol to have it incorporated separately and distinctly in the actual lease agreement.). Make sure to also have language in the lease that indemnifies the landlord and the landlord’s agent/property manager from any damages or issues as a result of permitting the authorized person to access the property and remove any personal items belonging to the tenant.  This section MUST be written by an attorney….don’t even try to write it up yourself.  Have these data fields for the tenant to put this information in the lease agreement:
    1. First and Last Name
    2. Phone number
    3. Email address
    4. Relationship to the tenant
By having these preauthorized emergency contact points with someone other than your tenant, you can at least have proactive communication in the event of a disaster.  At least you can provide some humanitarian assistance, however limited in your capacity as a landlord or as a property manager.  And, finally, at least you can protect your interests in the property as it relates to your legal exposure and future communication efforts with the tenant.
Nobody likes to think of these ugly scenarios, but they do happen, so best to be prepared.
As always, happy investing and if I may be of further assistance on this issue, please email or comment below.

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