68 Am. U. L. Rev. F. 91 (2019).

* Editor-in-Chief, American University Law Review, Volume 69; J.D. Candidate, May 2020, American University Washington College of Law; B.A., English and Environmental Studies, 2015, Williams College.  I would like to thank the entire Law Review editorial team for their dedicated efforts preparing this piece for publication.  I would also like to thank my faculty advisor, Professor Bill Snape, for his unwavering support and guidance throughout the drafting process.  Finally, I would like to thank my family.  It is with their unconditional love and support that I have been able to pursue and achieve my academic and professional goals.

Rising global temperatures have caused hurricanes to grow in size, intensity, and frequency.  For many coastal cities, hurricanes have become an expected or customary event.  In 2017, Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas coast and decimated communities.  A year later, Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina, leaving similar damage in its wake.  The list goes on:  Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Ivan, Hurricane Charley are other storms in recent history that have had devastating impacts on communities in New Jersey, Florida, and Louisiana.  Followingthese catastrophic storms, it is often those who rent who are most impacted.  Renters’ homes have been damaged, some made inhabitable, and yet, landlords have refused to maintain or repair the properties.

In property law, there has traditionally been no tenant-oriented remedy mitigating damage caused by a natural disaster.  Instead, landlords have looked to the act of God defense, a tool that eliminates obligations under a contract where a sudden and unexpected force outside the landlord’s control makes the landlord’s responsibility under the lease impossible. At stake in a lease, however, is more than just contractual obligations shared by a landlord and tenant.  At stake is also a tenant’s recognized property right:  the right to use and enjoy a premise for temporary duration.  In recent years, climate change and the increased frequency and severity of hurricanes has disheveled the landlord-tenant relationship.  These changed circumstances have created an imbalance that property doctrines, once shaped to incite a more equitable transaction between landlord and tenant, have failed to address.  This Comment argues that doctrines such as the implied warranty of habitability and the covenant of quiet enjoyment do, in fact, extend to damage caused by hurricanes.  Further, because many communities have grown to expect hurricanes, an event to which landlords are on notice, landlords may no longer raise the act of God defense and avoid liability.

Property law best protects individuals’ rights when external influences are stable.  Climate change has disrupted that stability and placed many individuals’ property rights at risk.  By recognizing anthropogenic climate change and its impacts on communities as the new reality, property doctrines are better equipped to safeguard the carefully calibrated rights derived from a landlord-tenant relationship.


The law of property rests on a foundation of stability and predictability.1See John A. Lovett, Property and Radically Changed Circumstances, 74 Tenn. L. Rev. 463, 474, 495–510 (2007) (“Many property law scholars define the goal of property law as creating an institution fundamentally geared toward the promotion of stability—stability in ownership, stability in markets for exchange, and stability in communities.”).  Doctrines such as the implied warranty of habitability and the covenant of quiet enjoyment ensure that property interests, specifically those arising in landlord-tenant relationships, are appropriately balanced and protected for the duration of a lease.2Id. at 495–510.  Tenancy law establishes rights and obligations that define the scope of the relationship between landlord and tenant, including a few clear-cut disclaimers of liability.3See generally Milton R. Friedman, Friedman on Leases § 9:1.1, at 9-36-37 (Patrick A. Randolph, Jr. ed., 5th ed. 2005) (illustrating instances when tenants are liable for damage outside of their control because of their duty to maintain their premises).  For example, if a non-manmade force, such as an extreme weather event, infringes upon the tenant’s rights, there has traditionally been no remedy for the tenant aside from terminating the lease because “the changed condition is not the fault of the landlord.”4See generally Restatement (Second) of Prop.:  Landlord and Tenant § 5.2 cmt. f (Am. Law Inst. 1977) (explaining that a tenant may terminate his lease if his landlord fails to restore the property to a suitable condition, but the tenant does not have any additional remedies).  A new reality, however, calls into question this traditionally clear-cut exception.5See Lovett, supra note 1, at 476 (explaining how events such as Hurricane Katrina “upset settled expectations and put large numbers of people at risk of losing control of the tangible and intangible resources that are central to their lives”).  As a result of rising global temperatures, extreme weather-related events are battering coastlines in places like North Carolina and Texas, as well as other communities, with increased frequency and severity, and the impacts on tenancy interests are undeniable.6See Myles Allen et al., Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC], Global Warming of 1.5°C:  Summary for Policy Makers 13 (Valérie Masson-Delmotte et al. eds., 2018), https://report.ipcc.ch/sr15/pdf/sr15_spm_final.pdf [https://perma.cc/YFF8-SH6E] [hereinafterIPCC Climate Change Summary] (explaining that globally increasing temperatures have very likely contributed to the intensity and frequency of storms).

In September 2018, Hurricane Florence ravaged North Carolina communities.7Florence Gone but its Flooding a Crisis in Parts of North Carolina—Live Updates, CBS News (Sept. 19, 2018, 1:38 AM), https://www.cbsnews.com/live-news/hurricane-florence-aftermath-weather-flooding-power-outage-death-toll-fema-latest-forecast-live [https://perma.cc/5SE7-TY9Z].  According to the American Red Cross, thousands of homes were damaged or destroyed by rising waters caused by Hurricane Florence.8Hurricane Florence Response in Eastern North Carolina, Am. Red Cross, https://www.redcross.org/local/north-carolina/eastern-north-carolina/about-us/our-work/hurricane-florence-response.html [https://perma.cc/7XUX-CHWQ] [hereinafter Red Cross Response to Hurricane Florence].  In the weeks that followed the hurricane, many families remained homeless.9Fred Clasen-Kelly, Florence Damaged Thousands of Homes in the Carolinas:  ‘This Has Been So Stressful’, The Charlotte Observer (Sept. 28, 2018, 12:37 PM),https://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/article219112465.html.  According to one local North Carolina news report, over 1900 residents remained in shelters in the weeks following the storm,10Id. though the American Red Cross statistics suggest a much higher number.11See Red Cross Response to Hurricane Florence, supra note 8 (“[D]isaster workers helped shelter and feed tens of thousands of people forced from their homes.”).  Hurricane Florence hit single-family homes the hardest.12Clasen-Kelly, supra note 9.  One North Carolina town reported that approximately 200 residential properties had been destroyed by flooding or tree damage resulting from the storm.13Lynda Van Kuren, Hurricane Florence:  Leland Starts Picking Up the Pieces, StarNews Online (Sept. 29, 2018, 9:00 AM), https://www.starnewsonline.com /news/20180929/hurricane-florence-leland-starts-picking-up-pieces [https://perma.cc/HJ3X-8R95].  Likewise, the amount of aid allocated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to Hurricane Florence damage illustrates the storm’s expansive impact on property interest holders.  As of October 10, 2018, FEMA has approved over 26,000 Individual Assistance Applications to financially support homeowners and renters, fixing damage Hurricane Florence caused.14North Carolina Hurricane Florence (DR-4393), Fed. Emergency Mgmt. Agency, https://www.fema.gov/disaster/4393 [https://perma.cc/GLK9-CS96] (last updated Oct. 11, 2018) [hereinafter FEMA Response to Hurricane Florence].  Additionally, as of May 2019, 657 households received temporary housing and $144 million was approved for FEMA Housing Assistance.15Id.

According to the Red Cross, “thousands of homes and structures were damaged during the storm,” and single-family rental houses have been hit the hardest.16See Clasen-Kelly, supra note 9 (explaining that rental properties damage disproportionately impacted low income families).  Hurricane damage typically includes water damage, from precipitation and storm surges, with potential to “saturate flooring, walls and furnishings,”17Diana Olick, Florence’s First Wave Has Potential to Cause $5 Billion in Property Damage, CNBC (Sept. 14, 2018, 9:11 AM), https://www.cnbc.com/2018/09/14/florence-has-potential-to-cause-5-billion-in-property-damage.html [https://perma.cc/67MV-4FEJ]. which suggests that many rental homes in North Carolina have likely faced similar damage.  As one illustration, a renter in North Carolina following Hurricane Florence stated that she was displaced from her three-bedroom home after a tree fell on the property during the storm.18Clasen-Kelly, supra note 9.  Months following the storm, the landlord has yet to fix the property, and the renter has no idea when she will regain access to the apartment.19Id.  This renter’s story is only one anecdotal expression of Hurricane Florence’s lasting impacts on the rental community in coastal North Carolina.

A year prior to Hurricane Florence’s devastating blow to coastal North Carolina communities, Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas as a Category Four hurricane in August 2017.20Category Four Hurricane Harvey:  South Texas Landfall & Impacts from August 25th to 29th, 2017, Nat’l Weather Serv., https://www.weather.gov/crp/hurricane_harvey [https://perma.cc/5K37-QZ3N] [hereinafter Hurricane Harvey Landfall & Impacts].  Hurricane Harvey’s “significant damaging winds and floods” caused “deadly flooding over Southeast Texas.”21Id.  As “one of the worst flooding disasters in U.S. history,” the American Red Cross “[p]rovided immediate financial assistance for more than 575,000 affected households” in addition to coordinating 414,800 overnight shelter stays.22Hurricane Harvey Relief Information, Am. Red Cross, https://www.redcross.org/about-us/our-work/disaster-relief/hurricane-relief/hurricane-harvey-relief-information [https://perma.cc/J6HG-RJL3] [hereinafter Red Cross Response to Hurricane Harvey].  Likewise, FEMA relief amounted to over $1.6 billion in efforts to help families recover after losing their homes.23Texas Hurricane Harvey (DR-4332), Fed. Emergency Mgmt. Agency, https://www.fema.gov/disaster/4332 [https://perma.cc/2S4L-AHAE] [hereinafter FEMA Response to Hurricane Harvey].  A year following Hurricane Harvey’s wake, potential legal implications have surfaced in the landlord-tenant landscape.  Notably, the Texas Attorney General has reported receiving twenty-three informal complaints on matters relating to landlords and hurricane damage.24Ben Popken, First They Fought the Storm; Now, They Fight Their Landlord, NBC News (Sept. 9, 2017, 10:01 AM), https://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/hurricane-harvey/first-they-fought-storm-now-they-fight-their-landlord-n799206 [https://perma.cc/TN34-BMCN].  The majority of landlord-tenant issues have stemmed from “difficult[y] getting out of leases on damaged properties [and] short timelines for evictions.”25Claudia Lauer & Ariana Gomez Licon, Renters Find Extra Hurdles to Recovery After Hurricanes, U.S. News (Oct. 13, 2017, 1:26 AM), https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/florida/articles/2017-10-13/renters-find-extra-hurdles-to-recovery-after-hurricanes [https://perma.cc/TC6X-VERL].  Other rising tensions have included landlords forgoing responsibility for damage:  alleging that tenants must do their own repairs, demanding rent when apartments are unlivable, and threatening to withhold security deposits or spurn the renters’ credit reports for failure to pay.26Id.  Moreover, many tenants have been without any remedy from governmental aid efforts—FEMA’s response only “approved less than half the applications for assistance” in the months following Hurricane Harvey.27Clasen-Kelly, supra note 9; see Mike Snyder, Fewer than Half of FEMA Harvey Requests Approved, Data Show, Chron (Jan. 23, 2018, 2:12 PM), https://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Fewer-than-half-of-FEMA-Harvey-requests-approved-12515142.php [https://perma.cc/X59R-J7XM] (“895,342 Texans had registered for assistance as of Jan. 19. Forty-one percent had been approved and 31 percent deemed ineligible.”).  Overall, the damage caused by both Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Harvey to renters has been undeniably profuse.

In light of these changing circumstances, a new reality threatens to dishevel the carefully constructed relationship between landlord and tenant.  Although the implied warranty of habitability and the covenant of quiet enjoyment may not have initially envisionedthe increased frequency and intensity of natural catastrophes and subsequent impacts on renters,28See discussion infra Sections I.C, I.D. hurricanes do not wash away a tenant’s rights. Accordingly, under the implied warranty of habitability and the covenant of quiet enjoyment, landlords are responsible for damage caused by climate change-related weather events because increasingly accurate weather prediction models and increased access to hurricane-risk information have placed landlords on sufficient notice of both the natural disaster events and the potential damage for which they will be held responsible. Part I of this Comment provides a detailed background on traditional property doctrines like the implied warranty of habitability and the covenant of quiet enjoyment.  Specifically, Part I details the obligations and remedies available to both tenants and landlords as they are presently interpreted and applied in the common law and by statutes.  This Part also explores the current state of global warming, details the use of predictive weather forecast measures, and outlines how general access to hurricane-risk information has increased.  Part II of this Comment applies these doctrines to a new reality:  landlord-tenant relationships substantially impacted by extreme weather events attributable to climate change.  Part II argues that although hurricanes cause the damage, the landlord’s obligations under the warranty of habitability and the covenant of quite enjoyment are not extinguished.  This Part recalibrates and balances the property interests shared by the landlord and the tenant under these doctrines.

This Comment concludes that if the landlord fails to correct foreseeable conditions caused by hurricanes that materially affect the tenants’ health and safety, the landlord has breached the warranty of habitability.  Additionally, if the landlord fails to sufficiently weatherproof properties to withstandforeseeable hurricane damage, this failure constitutes a material act or omission on the part of the landlord and gives rise to a breach of the covenant of quiet enjoyment.  Finally, landlords may no longer rely on an act of God defense to avoid liability for damage caused by hurricanes.  For example, if a landlord obstructshabitability standards by failing to repair damage caused by hurricanes, the landlord may not raise an act of God defense to avoid rent abatement payments.  Ultimately, if the landlord fails to properly repair or maintain the premises, thereby constructively evicting a tenant or violating habitability standards, the tenant is entitled to rent abatement, repairs, or contractual release from the tenancy.

I.   Background

Part I will provide an overview of the lasting impacts Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Florence have had on Texas and North Carolina communities, particularly the storms’ impacts on renters.29Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Florence represent only two recent examples of increasingly frequent and severe storms making landfall in the United States. Since the late 1980s, the number and severity of hurricanes has been on the rise, including storms like Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Irma.  Sara Gibbens, Hurricane Katrina, Explained, Nat’l Geographic (Jan. 16, 2019), https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/natural-disasters/reference/hurricane-katrina [https://perma.cc/3M5E-WSPV] (describing the impacts of Hurricane Katrina); see generally John P. Cangialosi et al., Nat’l Hurricane Ctr., Tropical Cyclone Report:  Hurricane Irma (2018), https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/data/tcr/AL112017_Irma.pdf [https://perma.cc/GB73-37LK] (describing the impacts of Hurricane Irma).  Additionally, this Part will detail the current discourse around climate change in the legal and scientific community, describing recent climate change-related litigation as well as current hurricane-risk assessment models and the methods in which hurricane-risk information is predicted and disseminated to communities at large.  Next, the implied warranty of habitability and the covenant of quiet enjoyment will be examined through case law.  Finally, Part I will explore the act of God defense as it pertains to landlords, illustrating when the defense may and may not free a landlord from liability.

A.   Climate Change in the Scientific and Legal Community

Globally increasing temperatures have contributed to the intensity and frequency of storms like Hurricane Florence in North Carolina and Hurricane Harvey in Texas.30See IPCC Climate Change Summary, supra note 6 (explaining how increasing temperatures impact hurricane intensity).  In 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a United Nations intergovernmental organization dedicated to assessing science related to climate change, observed with high confidence that “anthropogenic global warming is currently increasing at 0.2 [degrees Celsius] per decade due to past and ongoing emissions” by humans.31To illustrate a weather trend’s likelihood, the IPCC designates what it terms “confidence” levels to different weather trend outcomes.  The confidence levels range from very low to very high.  Id. at 6; see also John Cook et al., Qualifying the Consensus on Anthropogenic Global Warming in the Scientific Literature, 8 Envtl. Res. Letter 1, 2 (May 15, 2013) (defining anthropogenic global warming as global warming caused by human activity).  With very high confidence, theIPCC additionally stated that the “observed global mean surface temperature for the decade 2006–2015 was 0.87 [degrees Celsius] higher than the average over the 1850–1900 [pre-industrial] period,”32See IPCC Climate Change Summary, supra note 6, at 6. concluding with medium confidence that “[t]rends in intensity and frequency of some climate and weather extremes have been detected over time spans during which about 0.5 [degrees Celsius] of global warming occurred.”33Id.  Finally, the IPCC has indicated that extreme weather events fall into one of the Panel’s five reasons for concern about increasing global temperatures, finding that extreme weather events pose “severe and widespread impacts/risks” for “people, economies and ecosystems across sectors and regions.”34Id. at 13.  The IPCC is but one organization dedicated to using science to track issues like climate change and its effect on weather trends.

Similarly, the Union of Concerned Scientists (“UCS”) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to using science to mitigate the effects of climate change nationally.35See About Us, Union of Concerned Scientists, https://www. ucsusa.org/about-us [https://perma.cc/3CBJ-9JCG] (explaining that rising temperatures are scientific evidence of climate change that can be measured and using its network to broadcast the consequences of climate change and advocate for possible solutions).  The UCS issued a report, which concluded that although hurricanes have always threatened North America, the intensity of these threats has increased since the 1970s.36Hurricanes and Climate Change, Union of Concerned Scientists, https:// www.ucsusa.org/global-warming/science-and-impacts/impacts/hurricanes-and-climate-change.html [https://perma.cc/4L9D-6M6N](last revised June 25, 2019) [hereinafter Hurricanes & Climate Change].  The article noted that scientific research has “attribute[d] individual hurricanes to global warming” like Hurricane Harvey, and further concluded that the “probability of a storm with precipitation levels like Hurricane Harvey was higher in Texas in 2017 than it was at the end of the twentieth century.”37Id.  As a result of climate change, a storm as disastrous as Hurricane Harvey, which used to occur once a century, now is likely to occur every sixteen years.38Id.  The report expressly attributes these changes to “[h]uman-made global warming,” which has “create[d] conditions that increase the chances of extreme weather.”39Id.

Additionally, the U.S. Global Change Research Program, a multi-federal agency endeavor, recently released its Fourth National Climate Assessment providing a comprehensive report on the potential impacts of climate change on communities in the United States.40See Maureen Nandini Mitra, The US Climate Change Report Trump Didn’t Want You to Know About, Earth Island Journal, (Nov. 26, 2018), https://www.earthisland.org/journal/index.php/articles/entry/the-us-climate-change-report-trump-didnt-want-you-to-know-about? [https://perma.cc/UGG2-X6J4] (concluding that the increase in intense wildfires, droughts, heatwaves, and floods require urgent action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or the most vulnerable communities will continue to suffer).  In its Summary Findings, the program expressed concern regarding climate change’s impact on “communities across the United States, presenting growing challenges to human health and safety, quality of life, and the rate of economic growth,” in addition to explicit concerns regarding climate change’s impact on the United States’ infrastructure.41See U.S. Global Change Res. Program, Fourth National Climate Assessment:  Summary Findings 25–30 (2018) [hereinafterUSGCRP Summary Findings], https://nca2018.globalchange.gov/downloads/NCA4_Ch01_Summary-Findings.pdf [https://perma.cc/9YUL-THKS] (“Climate change and extreme weather events are expected to increasingly disrupt our Nation’s energy and transportation systems, threatening more frequent and longer-lasting power outages, fuel shortages, and service disruptions, with cascading impacts on other critical sectors.”).  The Summary reports that increases in “heavy precipitation events” and “coastal flooding” pose a serious threat to “America’s trillion-dollar coastal property market.”42Id. at 30.

Finally, a recent study released by Stony Brook University School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences examined “human induced” climate change and specifically focused on analyzing its impact on the strength of Hurricane Florence.43Kevin A. Reed et al., Estimating the Potential Impact of Climate Change on Hurricane Florence, Stony Brook Univ. Sch. of Marine and Atmospheric Scis. (Sept. 13, 2018), https://www.somas.stonybrook.edu/2018/09/1 [https://perma.cc/6FCA-GRR2].  According to the study, climate change directly increased Hurricane Florence’s intensity, amount of rainfall, and size.44Id.

Alongside advancing scientific research on climate change and concerns regarding climate change’s impacts on the human landscape, weather prediction models have also advanced,offering increasingly accurate notice of extreme weather events.45See Alan Burdwick, Our Weather-Prediction Models Keep Getting Better, and Hurricane Irma is the Proof, New Yorker (Sept. 6, 2017), https://www.newyorker.com/tech/annals-of-technology/our-weather-prediction-models-keep-getting-better-and-hurricane-irma-is-the-proof [https://perma.cc/RPY4-Q4T6] (explaining how geostationary satellites orbit Earth to collect data that describes weather patterns on its surface).  In the last four decades, “the accuracy of three- to ten-day forecasts [of hurricanes] has been increasing by about one day per decade.”46Id. (discussing Peter Bauer et al., The Quiet Revolution of Numerical Weather Prediction, 525 Nature 47, 47–55 (2015)).  For example, meteorologists predicted Hurricane Sandy days ahead of time, providing advance notice to many communities that were eventually impacted by the storm’s landfall.47Peter Bauer et al., supra note 46, at 47–55.  According to a recent report by the Hurricane Forecast Improvement Project, forecasting model technology is continuing to improve through the use of “several probabilistic [rapid intensification] models,”48See S. Gopalakrishnan et al., Hurricane Forecast Improvement Project, HFIP2018-1, 2017 HFIP R&D Activities Summary:  Recent Results & Operational Implementation 14 (2018), https://www.hfip.org/documents/HFIP_AnnualReport_ FY2017.pdf [https://perma.cc/NW53-6NCK] (explaining that measuring how many rapid intensifications scientists can predict versus how many actually occur provides the accuracy of hurricane prediction methods and therefore gives scientists a percentage error that they can work to reduce). and the Project has clear goals to improve forecasting accuracy to reduce human casualties, injuries, and economic damage.49Id. at 28.

As the threat of storms and their potential impacts looms larger, access to hurricane-risk information provided by prediction models has also improved.50Storm Surge Unit, Nat’l Hurricane Ctr., https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/surge/ssu.php [https://perma.cc/XM9K-2MNP] (stating that the National Hurricane Center’s mission is “[t]o serve the Nation’s growing need for storm surge information by providing accurate real-time surge forecasts . . . and increasing awareness through outreach and education”) [hereinafter Storm Surge Unit].  The public can access hurricane predictions through National Weather Service forecasters, private forecasters, various media and government agencies, and other organizations.51Julie L. Demuth et al., Creation and Communication of Hurricane Risk Information, 93 Bull. Am. Meteorological Soc’y 1133, 1134 (2012).  The most common information providers to the public regarding hurricane risk include “[l]ocal television and radio personnel.”52Id. at 1136.  As one example, the National Hurricane Center, a part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, has established a Storm Surge Unit.  This Unit consists of a “small group of highly trained meteorologists and oceanographers” who produce model predictions for landfalling hurricanes in addition to hypothetical storm simulations to improve storm preparation.53Storm Surge Unit, supra note 50.  The Unit relies on a computer model called the “Sea, Lake, and Overland Surges for Hurricanes” to predict storm damage vulnerability.  As soon as a “hurricane warning is issued, approximately 36 hours prior to the onset of tropical storm force winds,” the team tracks the storm and continues coverage “until the threat from storm surge subsides.”54Id.  Further, the Unit supports both a Hurricane Specialist Unit and local weather forecast offices to convey “vulnerability estimates during land-falling hurricanes” by providing “Hurricane Local Statements,” which include information such as:  the affected area, current watches or warnings, precautionary recommendations, storm surge information, present winds, predictions about the onset of tropical storm-force or hurricane-force winds, and the potential for tornados, floods, rip currents, and beach erosion.55Local Surge Impacts Information, Nat’l Hurricane Ctr., https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/surge/local.php [https://perma.cc/C8MR-KX8F].  The National Hurricane Center also provides a detailed overview of hurricane preparedness tips and potential hazards.56Hurricane Preparedness—Hazards, Nat’l Hurricane Ctr., https://www.nhc. noaa.gov/prepare/hazards.php [https://perma.cc/NE84-PCC5].  For example, the Center uses the “Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale,” which estimates property damage relating to a hurricane’s wind speed.57See Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, Nat’l Hurricane Ctr., https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/aboutsshws.php [https://perma.cc/BB4R-FRVC] (explaining that in a Category 3 hurricane “[w]ell-built framed homes may incur major damage or removal of roof decking and gable ends.  Many trees will be snapped or uprooted . . . [and] [e]lectricity and water will be unavailable for several days to weeks after the storm passes.”).  The Wind Scale suggests that Category Three hurricanes create “potential for significant loss of life and damage,” especially to homes.58Id.  Even more concerning, Category Four hurricane damage has the potential to make “[m]ost of the [affected] area . . . uninhabitable for weeks or months.”59Id.  The National Hurricane Center also implements “RSS Feeds” to disseminate pertinent information regarding storms, which is the Center’s “method of summarizing the latest news and information . . . in a lightweight form that can be easily read by a number of news readers or news aggregators.”60NHC RSS Feeds, Nat’l Hurricane Ctr., https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/aboutrss.shtml [https://perma.cc/CT3P-7JFU].  Alternatively, the Center provides “Audio Briefings,” which provide “the latest information regarding [a] hurricane threat and its expected impacts.”61NHC Audio Briefings (Podcasts), Nat’l Hurricane Ctr., https://www.nhc. noaa.gov/audio [https://perma.cc/9FB8-MHVB].  In sum, tools for predicting and disseminating hurricane-risk information have vastly improved access to hurricane-risk information.  Because of this increased access to weather prediction information, landlords have been placed on notice of both the increased frequency and severity of these storms as well as the types of property damage caused by these storms.

Alongside advancing technology in the hurricane-risk information space, the legal sphere has likewise adjusted to a new landscape—one where individuals’ rights are now being implicated by climate change.  At this intersection of climate change and the law, litigation is on the rise.62Michal Nachmany et al., Global Trends in Climate Change Legislation and Litigation 4, 13 (2017), https://archive.ipu.org/pdf/publications/global.pdf [https://perma.cc/NTJ2-VZS7](using a chart to illustrate the Climate Change Litigation of the World dataset, a study of 25 jurisdictions beginnin