Hurricane Shutters

12 Replies

Hi Everyone, I plan on investing and holding in Miami, where I live. We don't really have hurricanes here. I wanted to know if for rental properties its worth buying the hurricane shutters or should the tenants be responsible for boarding up?

Hi Jennifer,

You don't really have hurricanes in Florida/Miami? 

My first piece of advice would be to not get complacent and think that just because there may not have been a hurricane that hit that area in the recent past that the chances are low. It's Florida, and yes, I've lived there.

Second, I would recommend getting quotes for the shutters and then also getting quotes from your insurance company, or multiple insurance companies, and see if the investment would be worth it. You also have to factor in your piece of mind.



@Eric Black thank you so much for your response, I will definitely keep that in mind. 

If I decide to not go that route, in case of a hurricane should pay to board up or is that the tenants responsibility? 

We always "help" tenants when there is a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico headed our way. Not because we have to, but because we have the most to lose if it doesn't get accomplished.

I can tell you from experience tenants will NOT put up shutters if and when you have a hurricane approaching.  If it's the roll down or accordian types may be.  If it's the individual galvanized panels and most of the time half the wing nuts are lost or you have 28 different length windows and no one knows which panel goes where good luck.

I have in my lease what happens when there is a hurricane watch and what happens when there is a hurricane warning.

Tenants are responsible for their stuff and I am responsible for mine.  They are required to take inside THEIR lawn furniture, fire pit, bikes, container pots etc etc etc...I am to cut down potential flying coconuts from palms, take into storage kayaks, hammocks, BBQ grills far as panels themselves, I wrote that they are encouraged to install the panels (I don't expect them to), but it is my discretion whether I will do it or not, no guarantees.  In other words, they shouldn't expect me to install panels, and I don't expect them to either.  If it comes, the only way to ensure it gets done is you do it yourself or hire someone to do it.

I agree with Sam that tenants will only use the accordion or any electrically actuated shutters.  Additionally I am sure there are huge possible liability concerns if the tenant is injured while putting up the hurricane shutters.

There are many different types of Hurricane shutters from the panels you fit and tighten, the accordion, roll down for sliding glass doors, and impact windows.

Depending on what story the window or door is located on and your budget will ultimately determine what hurricane mitigation device you choose.  You can also get a discount on your homeowners insurance after installing them and having a Wind Mitigation Inspection Survey performed.  

Lastly if a hurricane has Not hit Florida in the recent past that only increases your chances that a Hurricane will hit in the near future.

One more note regarding my previous comment "they shouldn't expect me to install panels, and I don't expect them to either."  It doesn't mean it won't get done.

We all know when there is a potential threat of a hurricane, most people take the wait and see approach.  You don't want to go through the trouble of putting up shutters on every property only to take them down two days later when the hurricane went elsewhere.  However, by the time you know it's coming, it's usually too late, the rain is already there and making the hurricane installation more difficult and riskier.

Therefore I put the clause in my lease so there is an understanding the tenants will not rely on the landlord to install shutters, and landlord will not rely on the tenants.  A tenant may decide to take a spontaneous vacation to NYC for a few days, or to evacuate to a friend's house more inland instead of dealing with the rain, wind, potential power outages etc...

You as the landlord is to protect the structure and the roof from being blown off.  The tenants want to protect their belongings from getting wet and damaged.  Even with the disclaimer and delineated responsibilities fully spelled out in the lease, with a hurricane situations changes quickly.  That's why my lease does not say who to install shutters, and there is also the "...not responsible for any natural disaster..." clause in there too.  However, I do have a face to face conversation with the tenants on various scenerios that are likely to happen when there is a hurricane.

If you do have those galvanized shutters that need assembly, make sure you inspect them every year.  I made sure all the wingnuts on the walls are there, and I label each panel.  I have a floor plan with all the windows and doors labeled.  For example "W1", "W2"...and on the individual panel, I label "W1 1/8", "W1 2/8" so I know there are eight pieces for window W1 etc...the tenant has a copy of this shutter map.

@Jennifer Castro

I am going through the same process right now for a duplex I own in Fortt Lauderdale.  I've received several quotes for impact windows and the accordion shutters.  I'm going with the accordions because they're half the price of impact windows.  I also work for a local fire department, so if we are under a hurricane watch I will be on duty so I won't be able to go over to the property.  The accordions are easy to use so I can always send a friend or family over to make sure the property is secured.  Like Jeff said you can get a discount on your Homeowners Insurance also.  My discount will save me around $80 dollars a month on insurance. 

Not only do hurricanes hit Miami/South Florida, we get them here in NJ now too :(

Most of our condos in FL have the shutters. The associations, for the most part, have the right to enter the units to remove any personal items left on decks/balconies if the tenant isn't there, and they will charge the tenant for that, as well as closing the shutters. The units have the shutters permanently attached to the window frames.

Our contractor in FL would help the tenants, or at at least ensure they closed the shutters. 

Most of our condos are a little further inland in the western 'burbs of Ft. Lauderdale, so not all the units have the shutters. But if I owned SFRs in the area, I would absolutely invest in them and pay someone to make sure they were in place before a hurricane.

This is also why we require our FL tenants to have renter's insurance; if the roof blows off a building, our insurance does not cover their belongings.

I like it when you install new shutters you get a bunch of keys.  Last time I had 34 accordian shutters installed in one house I got 34 keys.

Sam, sorry to hear the company left you 34 keys for 34 accordions.  Companies can easily and should key all the locks to the same key.  

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I have three rentals in Miami and I absolutely provide shutters for my properties. You need to protect your property and your tenants safety by having them. During Hurricane Irma last year I had one tenant who I contacted and hadn't put up the shutters, I was happy to pay for someone to go out there and put them up for her. At the end of the day nothing happened, but I was glad to have the peace of mind knowing that the windows weren't going to blow out and cause damage or injuries. I consider it a cost of doing business in South Florida.

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