TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Oct. 4, 2016 – Attorney General Pam Bondi activated Florida’s price gouging hotline as a strong storm moves through the Caribbean, after Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency.
Just as homeowners prepare for the potential impact of Hurricane Matthew, businesses and local Realtor associations should also prepare for a post-storm world. According to the Hurricane Preparation and Recovery Plan produced by Florida Realtors, some of the work mirrors that of homeowners, such as checking insurance policies for coverage and bolstering building defenses to minimize damage.
However, some preparation is unique to the real estate industry. According to the guide, the top 10 things (there are 24 recommendations) brokers or association executives should do is:
- What does your MLS do? What happens to business data? Does the MLS have an out-of-state backup system?
- Call your insurance agent. Has anything changed since the last storm threat?
- If renting space, meet with the landlord. Who is responsible for pre-hurricane preparation and storm recovery? Some leases hold the tenant responsible.
- Meet with your team and get organized. Who determines whether the office will be closed? Who will prepare the office?
- Have a building backup plan. If your office is unusable for weeks or even months, where can you conduct business?
- Make a video of office contents.
- Update the office inventory, including purchases and amounts paid.
- Update home addresses and phone numbers of staff.
- Make a list of local, licensed repair and service companies.
- Scan or make copies of insurance papers with policy numbers – and store one copy offsite.
“Hurricane Matthew has already caused deaths in the Caribbean, and while the storm may not make landfall in Florida, scammers may still use the threat of impact to prey on consumers. Anyone who suspects price gouging during this declared state of emergency should contact my office immediately,” said Attorney General Bondi.
Florida’s price gouging law applies statewide. It prohibits extreme increases in the price of essential commodities, such as food, ice, gas, hotels, lumber and water during a declared state of emergency. Anyone who suspects price gouging should report it to the Attorney General’s Office by calling 1-866-9-NO-SCAM.
© 2016 Florida Realtors®