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Hurricane Panorama
Oh boy! There’s always something unexpected when you’re renting out a room and this weekend is no exception.  If you’ve been following the news, there’s be constant coverage of Hurricane Irene, which is expected to make landfall Sunday afternoon as a category 1 hurricane.

Now, growing up the in the Northeast, a hurricane is something you typically don’t encounter too often, so this is a rare occurrence.  Normally, by the time these hurricanes reach us from the south, they almost die down to severe amounts of rain and mild winds – nothing to cause too much damage.

This hurricane Irene will be a direct hit on Connecticut, so I have to make preparations for the worst scenario not only for me, but also for my roommates.

I think of my living arrangement as a business owner and customer type relationship sometimes where my customers are my roommates.  As a business owner, I have an obligation to provide the service of a habitable room.  However, in extreme cases such as an impending hurricane approaching, my roommates have to understand the extenuating circumstances that are out of my control.  I can’t help it if the power goes out of if there is flood or wind damage – stuff happens.


My Obligation

I’ll do everything I can to make sure that my residence will withhold to the elements, but it’s not without it’s flaws especially against mother nature.

As a live-in landlord, it’s my duty to inform them of any information brought upon by the association if it affects them.  There’s no question about that.  As the storm approaches, my association has made it clear that they want all out door furniture secured some how.  Now, I don’t think my roommates have any exterior fixtures, but I have to make them aware or else I may be partly responsible for damages caused by their exterior fixtures.




I briefed my roommates of the inconvenience that may result from hurricane Irene, which are power outages and flooding (hope this doesn’t happen).   The flooding may affect them if the streets or parking lot gets flooded since that’s where they park their cars.  Power outages will be the biggest inconvenience to them including me because we won’t be able to do the following:

No cooking – I’m urging my roommates to stock up on food that doesn’t require electricity to cook. For instance, beef jerky, ramen(we’ll be able to heat up hot water by means of a propane burner), chips, baked goods, and tons of water.

No Hot Water – Since my boiler runs on electricity rather than propane, if I do loose electricity, we won’t have hot water.  So I’m telling them to take a shower accordingly because I don’t know how long we’ll be without power.

No Internet – Since both of my roommates spend loads of time on the internet, they’ll be sorely bored without it.  I’m sure they’ll find ways to hook up their smart phones to their laptops to get online.

No lights –I don’t know about my roommates, but I don’t like sitting in the dark.  I’m going to advise them to have a flashlights/torches to walk about the house at night.  All but one of my bathrooms have a window so it may prove challenging to use the bathroom without a flashlight/torch

No washer/dryer –I need to state the obvious so that my roommates can plan accordingly to have clean cloths.

No refrigeration –Depending on how long we loose power for, all perishable food may spoil.

This is what I need to communicate to my roommates so that they can plan accordingly for long term power outages.



I don’t anticipate being evacuated, but the association did provide emergency contact information in the event we do get evacuated.  Those will need to be made aware to the roommates.

In the event evacuation is necessary, it’s best to stick together.  Remember the saying “Strength in numbers.”

We’ll be tuning into the local radio station and Internet via our smart phones to get updates on where to do.


Hurricane Preparation


24 plus hours out:

Stock up on supplies, food, and prepartion

  • bottled water
  • non perishable food (nuts, beef jerky, canned food)
  • batteries
  • flashlights/torches
  • coolers
  • secure all out door furniture

less than 24 hours out:

Buy commodities

  • buy ice
  • take out the trash
  • do laundry
  • fill up the vehicles with gas
  • have cash on-hand in case stores don’t accept credit cards

I’m grateful that my roommates are chipping in and helping me in preparing for the storm.  They don’t have to help me move my barbeque grill, but it’s they seem to have this sense of obligation that they live here and we’re all in this together.

The key take away is to communicate what you know about your dwelling to your roommates.  For instance, if you’re house is prone to flooding, make them aware that flooding may occur rather than leaving it for them to find out.  Communicate, communicate. If you’re stocking up supplies because you’re told a tid-bit of information, make that aware to your roommates.  Helping each other out will ensure that we’ll make it through this hurricane.

Creative Commons License photo credit: brownpau

  • krantcents August 27, 2011, 12:09 pm

    It should take a natural disaster to make us think about planning for the unknown. Stay safe.

  • E. Turnbull June 4, 2015, 12:40 pm

    Hi, Mike, so glad I found your interesting site. What if a tenant/boarder/roomie has a slip and fall? Does the owner’s homeowner’s insurance cover their injuries as part of premises liability? Many thanks. E.


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