In the winter season, storms are more likely to hit the UK, and potentially your property. We’ve put together this handy guide to help you know how to proceed should the worst happen and your rental property is hit by a storm.
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Preparing your rental property for storms
It’s often said that prevention is the best cure, and that’s certainly true when it comes to preparing your rental property for storms.
Preparations if there’s a weather warning for a storm
It can be hard to take too many preventative steps if your property is tenanted - you have to provide 24 hours’ notice before you visit a tenanted property, and if a storm’s already on the way you might not have enough time. However, if you contact your tenant and explain the situation, they may be willing to provide you access to the property without the 24-hour notice.
If there’s a warning of flooding, providing your tenants with sandbags will help them batten down the hatches. For high winds, securing any loose items outside, such as garden furniture or ornaments, or asking your tenants to bring them inside will minimise the risk of damage. For a particularly violent storm, you may want to reinforce the windows of your property, which can be done with plywood coverings.
Remember that you will need to obtain the permission of your tenants before making any of these changes.
Long term preparations
While it can be difficult to make emergency preparations for a tenanted property, there are a number of steps you can take in advance, while the property is empty or having given your tenants advance notice.
One of the biggest problems for landlords during adverse weather conditions is water damage. Checking all your pipes to make sure they’re in proper working order and aren’t likely to burst or leak will help minimise the risk of water damage to your property.
It’s also worth checking that your windows and doors are water tight, your guttering is intact and there aren’t any weak points in your roof.
For more information, check out our guide to preparing your rental property for wet weather.
Steps to take if your property is hit by a storm
If your rental property is hit by a storm, it’s important that you or your letting agent stay in close contact with your tenants. Should the property be flooded, instruct your tenants to turn off the gas, if your property has gas, and electricity.
If the storm damages your property to the extent that your tenants have to move out, you’ll need to make arrangements with them about what happens next. Landlords are not obliged to provide alternative accommodation - that is the remit of the local council in cases where natural disasters have caused homelessness - but you may be obliged to pay for it if you’re found to have known about a fault and not fixed it, such as a damaged pipe that then burst and caused the property to flood.
However, If you’re not providing alternative accommodation for your tenants, you need to think about how to proceed in terms of rent. In most circumstances tenants will still be legally obligated to pay rent even if the house is uninhabitable, but this will depend on the specifics of your tenancy agreement. If it will take many months for the property to be repaired, it may be best to end the tenancy.
Contacting your insurer and making repairs
As for repairs, your landlord insurance can help to cover the cost of the work that needs to be done. It’s best to contact your insurer as soon as you can after the storm damages your property as delaying may impact your claim.
Make sure you take photographs of the damage and speak to your insurer before you book any work as they may have preferred contractors.
Our step-by-step guide to making a claim will take you through the steps you need to take, including contact details for the Simply Business claims team and what to expect once you’ve made your claim.
And while you’re thinking about insurance, check out or list of the 4 most common landlord insurance claims to see the best measure to take to avoid having to make a claim.
Making a claim is sometimes unavoidable. If you’re a Simply Business customer needing to speak to our Claims team, you can contact us 24/7 on 0333 207 0560.