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Tip #149: Safe Rooms

If your rental property is located in areas prone to tornadoes or hurricanes, consider adding a safe room to protect tenants in these dire emergencies.

As the recent barrage of tornadoes across the U.S. has proven, basements and stairwells don’t always provide reliable emergency shelter.

Safe rooms can provide near-absolute protection in extreme weather events, especially tornadoes and hurricanes. The level of protection provided by a safe room is a function of its design parameters, specifically the design wind speed and resulting wind pressure and the wind-borne debris load resistance. The structures can be effective against winds up to 200 miles per hour, according to FEMA.

The room can serve a dual purpose by doubling as a master bath or walk-in closet.

FEMA provides a free guidebook which includes architectural plans for safe rooms in new construction, retrofits, and stand alone structures. The free information includes links to agencies that may provide building grants. The average cost to install a safe room is $6,000-$9,000. In addition to grant money, the cost may be partially offset by an increase in both rentability and marketability of the property.

For more info, including a map of areas most suspectible to catastrophic storms, see

See last weeks Landlord Quick Tip.

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