As property managers in North Queensland prepare for Cyclone Ita to hit later this evening, one service provider has created a comprehensive checklist to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible.
The category five storm is expected to hit land between Cape Melville and Cooktown at around 9pm, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.
Director at Real Estate Dynamics Nathan Brett has shared a complete list of tasks that must be performed to help protect tenants, landlords and businesses during and after of the storm.
“We tried to write this from an agency’s viewpoint,” he told Residential Property Manager.
“There’s a lot of information from the SES and other sources, but there’s a lot of extra effort that needs to go into preparing the agency and clients.”
In a rent roll business, a lot of value is in the data – so one of the first steps is to backup and test your system.
“Store copies of the backups in several secure locations away from the office," said Mr Brett.
“Print an abundance of your agency’s repairs and maintenance forms because you may have to hand write these if the power fails.”
Mr Brett suggested brushing up on how to end a tenancy agreement legally as a result of a natural disaster (RTA Factsheet - DIS07) and to have torches with plenty of batteries available in case the power fails in your office.
“Check on vacant properties to make sure they are free of any potential debris or danger," he said. "The vacant ones sometimes get forgotten in times like this, so they will also need to be checked for damage after the storm.
“Print manual copies of landlord, property and tenant information from the trust account system and keep these safe. A good suggestion is for the principal or department leader to retain this information and distribute it to the property management team as required.
“If the power fails, you will not be able to access this information, so printed trust account reports held securely will be most vital.”
Print a contractor list with contact details and a key register and keep it safe – again it's a good idea for the agency principal or department leader to keep this list, said Mr Brett.
“Create a roster plan of who will take calls and when, and inform everyone in your agency about it. Know your plan for telephone diversion and when to activate it,” he said.
In some cases office phones may have to be diverted to a mobile phone, so Mr Brett said you make sure you’re all charged up.
“Change the message if necessary to say messages are checked regularly and a returned call will be made just as soon as possible,” advised Mr Brett.
But above all else, personal safety should be your first and foremost priority, according to Mr Brett.
“Property managers will probably need help in dealing with the insurance claims and should expect to be flooded with repair and maintenance reports from tenants, so having the systems and communication lines open and clearly communicated to your clients is vital,” he said.