Legal Disaster Preparedness
Disasters create legal issues, but many of these problems can be prevented.
Many Oklahomans don’t realize that disasters cause legal issues. This page contains information about common legal issues after disasters and steps you can take to prevent them.
Taking small steps to prepare legal matters before a disaster strikes can help you do things like:
- Qualify for disaster assistance by having proof that you own your home
- Protect your finances from contractor fraud and other common disaster scams
- Protect your home from eviction or foreclosure
This page contains tips and resources to help you identify and take steps to prevent these types of common legal issues related to disasters.
Here are some of our top tips to get you started.
- Renters, learn your rights as a renter after a disaster
If you’re renting your home, you need to know that you cannot be evicted without reason. Know that a landlord can only make you move by giving you a notice telling you to get out by a certain date and then filing a lawsuit after that date. If your lease is expired, your landlord may be able to force you to move by giving you a 30-day notice. If your landlord locks you out and refuses to give you a key, you may file an action in court to gain re-entry. Click here for more information on renter’s rights.
- Homeowners, make sure your home title is in your name
Many disaster assistance programs require proof of home ownership before they can help you. Making sure your home title is in your name can help you get the assistance you need and prevent significant delays to your recovery. Click here to learn how to prevent home title and other homeownership legal issues.
3. Be aware of common scams after disasters and know how to avoid them
Sadly, there are people who try to take advantage of others after disasters. A few of the most common scams include imposter scams, insurance scams, home repair scams, and charity scams. Click here to learn more types of common scams and steps you can take to avoid them. (Avoiding Scams and Frauds After a Disaster/During a Pandemic – United Way of Connecticut – 211 and eLibrary (211ct.org)
- Find out which contractors are used by people you know and trust
Finding a contractor that you trust before disasters strike can help you protect your finances and personal information from scam artists. Always check with family and friends to see who they have used before choosing your contractor. Click here to learn more tips about how to choose a contractor and avoid common home repair scams.
- Create or update your will
Having a will is vital to making sure that your possessions are handled the way that you want and that your loved ones receive everything that you want to leave them. Did you know that there are certain ways a will can be done? Click here to learn more about why having a will is important and how you can create one.
- Take photos or videos of your home and belongings
Having up-to-date images of your home and belongings can help with your insurance claim. Reasons for this is to show that new damage to your home was due to the disaster and not deferred maintenance. Click here to learn more insurance tips for after a disaster.
- Take pictures of your important documents and upload them to a password protected cloud storage
Important documents can get scattered or damaged during disasters. Keeping electronic copies of these documents (your insurance policy, social security card, green card, driver’s license, etc.) can help your recovery so you will not have to take the time to replace them before being able to apply for disaster assistance programs. Click here to learn more types of documents that you should protect and steps you can take to do that.
- Learn about SBA Loans
Did you know that SBA loans are for homeowners and renters too? SBA Loans have been vital for many disaster survivors when they are needing help with rebuilding their homes and replacing personal belongings. Click here to learn more about how you can use these low interest loan options to recover from a disaster.
- Learn about Disaster Unemployment
If you lose your job due to a disaster, you may qualify for disaster unemployment benefits even if you would not normally qualify for this type of program outside of a disaster. Click here to learn more about this program.
- Learn about FEMA
Did you know FEMA does not respond to every disaster? Click here to learn when FEMA responds, how they can help you, tips for the application process and much more.
Links to partner resources on this topic:
General Preparedness by type of disaster: