What to do when your rental property is flooded

Storms Desmond, Eva and Frank have caused major flooding in many parts of the UK. And with more rain forecast, it’s essential that landlords prepare for the worst and act swiftly in the event of a flood.

This winter the country has been battered by a succession of storms and many areas are struggling to cope with heavy rains and flooding. Although colder weather and snow is forecast for the weeks ahead, currently rain is still sweeping the country and falling on saturated ground. If your rental property is at risk of flooding or you’re already dealing with flood waters, here are some steps you can take to help keep your tenants and your property safe.

If you’re at risk of flooding

Keep abreast of weather warnings issued by the Met Office and flood warnings issued by the Environment Agency.

Clear your gutters and get some sandbags and plastic sheeting to help protect your property. Keep in touch with your tenants and make sure they’ve got a flood plan in place and they’ve moved valuable possessions to higher floors if possible.

If your property floods

If your rental property floods, stay in close contact with your tenants and make sure they’ve turned off the gas and electricity supply if necessary. Advise them to stay away from electrical equipment in flooded parts of the property.

If the flooding means your tenants have to move out, you’ll need to come to an agreement with them about what happens next. Although you’re not obliged to provide alternative accommodation, your landlord insurance may cover this. Check your policy documents, and if you’ve got alternative accommodation cover, keep your receipts for hotels or other temporary accommodation.

If you’re not providing somewhere else for your tenants to stay, you need to work out the best way forward for both parties: this maybe a reduction in rent or a suspension of rent payments. If you think it will be many months before you can make the property habitable again, it may be best to end the tenancy.

As the landlord, you’re legally responsible for any repairs needed to make the house or flat habitable again. Under Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act, you’re obliged to keep the property’s structure in a good state, to repair the property if it’s damaged, and to ensure that the utility supplies are in working order.

Your landlord insurance should cover the repair work that’s needed: take photographs of the damage to help support your claim and don’t book any work until you’ve spoken to your insurer, as they’re likely to have preferred contractors. Although it’s good if you can limit damage to your property, don’t put yourself in danger by attempting to carry out repair work that requires a professional.

Making a claim

Our step-by-step guide to making a claim will take you through the process, including contact details for the Simply Business claims team and what to expect once you’ve made your claim.

Were you affected by the floods? Or do you have any further questions? Let us know in the comments section below.

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