After the Flood
The Baton Rouge flooding is one of the nations worst disasters since Hurricane Sandy. While it will take a lot more time to really know the extent of the damage, the current numbers coming in are shocking to say the least. On Monday, August 23rd Nola.com reported, “As many as 188,729 occupied houses and 507,495 people — 11 percent of the state’s population — were “affected” by the flood.” As the waters recede many of you, or someone you know, are taking on the daunting task of putting their home and/or business back together again. To help answer many of the questions we have been asking ourselves, as many of us (including our CRE office) were affected, we wanted to provide a list of the important resources that will help after the flood. These resources will help to prevent any further income or property loss, which is now the name of the game. Below, we have outlined the steps you should take after sustaining damage of your CRE in Baton Rouge from the flood.
[bctt tweet=”Baton Rouge: Key contacts and resources to help restore your #CRE after a flood.”]
Assessment of CRE in Baton Rouge
Once the flood waters recede you face the difficult and heartbreaking task, of going through your commercial real estate asset. The first step is to assess the damage and salvage of your CRE in Baton Rouge as much as you can. Be careful though, this can be risky. There are many new safety hazards that now pose a dangerous risk to you and your employees. The Hartford Business Insurance has provided a great run down of the safety tips business owners should follow after a flood.
One of the biggest and most expensive aspects of restoring your commercial real estate is clean up. The biggest and most time-consuming part of that clean up will be killing the mold. The general rule is that any materials left wet for over 48 hours should be assumed to have mold growing. This puts every one of us in the “yes, we have mold” boat. All of the equipment, furniture and items that you can salvage from CRE space will need to cleaned with bleach. A great resource we discovered is the detailed flood clean checklist from Minnesota Department of Health.
For insurance purposes, you need to document everything damaged by taking lots and lots of photos. Once you have checked off all of the appropriate safety measures, start with taking photos of the exterior of the commercial real estate property. Here are some of the more important items to document:
- Structural damage
- Visible mold growth
- Hardware: computers, faxes, copy machines, phones
- Appliances and equipment
- Company vehicles
- Locate and salvage any important papers/documents
Find and Contact
Once the initial damage has been assessed and possibly the clean-up process begun, you will need to start reaching out for help. Below are the most important resources you will need as you begin the long process of restoring your business’s baton rouge commercial real estate.
First things first…grab that insurance policy for your CRE in Baton Rouge. If you own a business, then you have some form of property insurance. Dependent upon policy, this may or may not cover floods. If you do have flood insurance (and honestly even if you don’t) you will need to contact your insurance provider. Please note that in most cases you have only 60 days after a flood to officially file for support. Here is the process:
– File a claim
– Provide documentation
– Complete a “Proof of Loss” for your official claim for damages (a sworn statement done by an Adjuster of the amount you are claiming including necessary supporting documentation)
We would also like to note that you may want to contact a local insurance attorney to help with any questions you may have on your insurance policy or commercial lease after a flood.
Flood Assistance Programs
Businesses affected by floods in a natural disaster area may have state and federal relief programs available to them. On August 17th, 20 parishes were declared a major disaster by the federal government so these funds will be available to many in our area. Here is some unbelievably helpful information from our friends at Nolo on how to claim these funds:
DisasterAssistance.gov contains a “Find Assistance” questionnaire. Answer a few questions and this anonymous, online survey compiles a personalized list of federal and state disaster aid programs, including low interest loans, disaster unemployment insurance, and emergency capital resources. Similarly, a list of state disaster assistance programs can be found on the Small Business Administration’s website for your state’s disaster aid programs.
More Flooding Resources
For more resources to help with damage or issues caused by the recent flooding to your home or CRE in Baton Rouge, visit the United Way of Northwest Louisiana. Here they have information including:
- Key Local Contacts and Resources
- Flood Cleanup Information Sheet
- Mold Recovery Guidance
- FEMA’s Disaster Relief Guide
About Us – The team at SVN | Graham, Langlois & Legendre has over 99-years of combined experience helping clients across the Baton Rouge market get the most value out of their CRE investment. Contact one of our dedicated CRE professionals today with any questions you may have and start seeing the returns in a market that will make sure to give today, tomorrow and for the extended future. To reach us, you can call us at 225.367.1515 or you can send us a message on our website. You can also follow us on Twitter at @svngll or on Facebook.