Jun. 22—Renters who have sustained damage from the weekend storms should take photos and video, write to their landlords and carefully read their rental agreements, a local lawyer said.
"That contract is going to control a lot of what happens here," said
The lease agreement may spell out who pays for what damage and under what conditions, she said. It also may provide information about the time frame in which damages have to be reported.
Williams also said insurance coverage may come into play. And while it is common for landlords' policies to not cover the tenants' belongings, if the renters are young enough, their property may be covered by umbrella policies that their parents or guardians have purchased.
Documentation can be very useful if renters file claims with insurance companies or during negotiations with their landlords, Williams said.
She also said renters should continue to monitor their health and the conditions of their apartments as flooding can sometimes produce mold that may affect people's respiratory systems. If renters develop cold symptoms and breathing problems that persist, they should see a doctor. And if they see mold, they should take photos and contact their landlords right away.
Zody and Williams also stressed the importance of communication between tenants and landlords.
Zody said many landlords are still assessing damages and cleanup and repairs likely will take some time.
"We ask renters to be patient," Zody said. "We all need to ... work together."
These types of disasters are no one's fault, she said, so approaching the cleanup as though everyone's in it together, much like the country did during the pandemic, can prove most beneficial.
"Have a conversation and see what's possible through collaboration," Williams said.
Zody said if renters feel as though they're not getting a response from their landlords after a few days or a week, they can call the
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