Here on the Big Island, we live with the annual threat of hurricanes and the damage they cause. Aside from the toll via human injuries and the loss of personal effects, hurricanes can cause considerable damage to homes—including your investment property.
Despite our hurricane season, there’s no need to be afraid of owning a rental property in Kona. If you have the right professional maintenance services and the help of a Kona property manager, your home is in good hands year-round.
Here’s what investment property owners on the Big Island need to know about making sure your rental property—and your tenants—are safe before, during, and after hurricane season.
What Is Hurricane Damage?
Have you seen photos of areas destroyed by hurricanes? These images capture some of the most extreme circumstances when a storm makes landfall and devastates homes and lives. In many cases, hurricane damage is less severe.
However, even without destroying your investment property, the effects of a hurricane can cause plenty of damage.
A Category 1 hurricane has winds starting at 74 mph. When a hurricane grows to Category 5, winds can get up to 157 mph or higher. That’s the equivalent of Hurricane Dorian hitting your Kona investment property.
Anything that’s not tied down can blow away or into your home. Shingles, siding, and shutters can blow off of your home. The wind can blow debris into windows and your roof, causing holes where rain can make its way inside.
Hurricanes cause the tide to rise above normal sea levels. If your investment property is on or near the beach, it’s at risk of flooding from the storm surge.
With the wind and storm surge comes extreme rainfall. Think about the wind battering your property and the rain falling into your home. With flooding from the storm surge, such heavy rain has nowhere to go.
This much water can ruin your home, everything inside your house, your lanai, an uncovered pool, and anything left outside.
Preparation Prevents Severe Damage
The best way to prevent the most extreme damage to your Kona investment property is to prepare for hurricane season. Following these tips can help keep your home safer from flying debris and intense rainfall during a hurricane.
Before hurricane season lands, make sure your investment property is in good condition. Do a “pre-hurricane” maintenance inspection, including cleaning the gutters and checking the roof for loose shingles or holes. Make repairs if necessary.
Be sure your tenants know the location of the water, gas, and electrical shut-offs. In the event of a hurricane, they’ll need to shut off these utilities to help protect your property.
Encourage your tenants to keep up with lawn and landscape maintenance. Fallen tree limbs or debris can cause damage to your property during high winds. If you have lawn care rolled into your lease as a tenant responsibility, your Kona property manager can help make sure that it stays enforced—even if you’re away from the Big Island.
When a Hurricane Hits
Work with your tenant to protect your property before a hurricane makes landfall.
- Move outdoor objects indoors. Put patio furniture in an enclosed, covered area like a garage or storage shed. If you need to move it inside the house, it’s only temporary.
- Brace windows and doors. Sturdy window coverings and tape on the windows can help keep the broken glass from shattering into your home. Put heavy objects behind doors to keep them from blowing open. Make sure to give the same care to your lanai if you have one.
- Review the evacuation plan. Help your tenants find a safe place to go if they need to leave home.
Make sure you have the right insurance coverage for your Kona investment property. No matter how your property comes through hurricane season, be prepared with insurance documents and the right coverage to save money on repairs. Your trusted Kona property manager can also connect you to seasoned vendors who will make sure your repairs are done right.
Recovering from Hurricane Damage
We hope your Kona investment property never suffers significant hurricane damage. Thankfully, Hawaii rarely sees hurricanes make landfall. However, Hawaii is still a target for the resulting storm systems that follow in the wake of major hurricanes, and damage should be addressed promptly to protect your investment.
- Check-in with your tenants: Make sure they are safe and ask them about damage to the property. Remember, your tenant’s renter’s insurance covers loss or damage to their personal property. Encourage your tenants to take on a policy that covers flood damage if your Kona investment home is in an at-risk area.
- Walk your property: Make a list of damage, large or small.
- Schedule your contractor for repairs: Don’t attempt to repair the roof, siding, or other significant damage on your own.
- Make temporary repairs to prevent additional water damage: If you find a hole in the roof or a broken window, make a temporary covering until you make the permanent repairs.
Kona contractors can book up quickly following a hurricane or large storm. Start your property inspection and repair process immediately following a storm to reduce the risk of more expensive and lingering damage. Ultimately, this will protect your long-term financial goals.
Be Prepared with Help on the Ground Year Round!
Your professional property manager in Kona knows how to maintain your investment property and prepare it for the season. When you live on the mainland, hurricanes might not be on your mind at home—or you might be dealing with your hurricane season if you currently live on the Eastern seaboard. Plus, it’s difficult to prepare—then repair—your investment property when you don’t live nearby.
Hawaiian Dream Properties is your year-round professional hurricane guardian! We know how to inspect and prepare your property for hurricane season. After a hurricane, we take immediate action to inspect your property and get our contractors there to make repairs right away.
Don’t risk your financial freedom when hurricane season returns to Kona. Without year-round help on the ground, your investment is in danger. Get in touch with Hawaiian Dream Properties today to protect your Hawaiian Dream and preserve your peace of mind.