Research and reports
During the winter, storms are more likely to hit the UK and it’s important to protect your rental property against heavy rain and high winds.
We’ve put together a guide to help you know what to do if the worst happens and your rental property is hit by a storm.
Prevention is the best cure when it comes to preparing your rental property for storms and extreme weather.
It can be tricky to take all the preventative steps for your rental property if you have a tenant. You’ll have to provide 24 hours' notice before you visit, and if severe weather is already on the way, time probably isn't on your side.
However, if you contact your tenant and explain the situation, the likelihood is they'll be willing to give you access to the property without 24 hours' notice.
Here’s an overview of the steps you can take when there’s a weather warning:
Remember that you'll need to get your tenants' permission before making any of these changes.
While it can be difficult to make emergency preparations when you have a tenant in your property, there are things you can check in advance before the severe weather hits:
Checking all your pipes to make sure they’re in proper working order and aren’t likely to burst or leak should help minimise the risk of water damage to your property.
Pipes are susceptible to the cold, so you might want to insulate external pipes and internal ones in areas that aren’t heated, to stop them freezing in snowy and icy conditions.
If roof tiles or slates are already damaged, they don’t stand much of a chance in extreme weather. Weak points will be compromised in heavy rain, wind, and snow, so check for signs of existing damage – one of the main things to look out for is broken debris on the ground.
You can get the roof inspected from ground level – it’s useful to do this once before winter to prepare, and again after to assess if there’s been any damage.
Make sure guttering isn’t damaged already – freezing weather can cause cracks to form, and bad guttering won’t do you any favours in a storm.
In snowy conditions, you’ll need to check for loose guttering connections as the weight of snow can cause gutters to become dislodged.
Check for debris in the guttering system, because if there’s a clog it won’t perform well. If necessary, you can call on professionals who can clear the guttering.
Water damage is one of the biggest problems for landlords during adverse weather conditions, so check the sealant around windows and doors to make sure they’re water tight.
It’s also a good idea to buy draught excluders to insulate the property, while also preventing doors and windows from rattling.
If you have a water tank in the loft, make sure the loft is insulated to prevent the water tank from freezing. The tank can crack and split when it freezes, causing eventual leaks and even flooding.
It’s important your tenants know where the stopcock is in your property, so they can turn off the water supply quickly in an emergency. It’ll usually be under the kitchen sink but it does vary from property to property.
During extreme weather conditions, you or your letting agent will need to stay in close contact with your tenants. If the property is flooded, instruct your tenants to turn off the gas and electricity.
If storm damage to the rental property means your tenants have to move out, you’ll need to make arrangements with them about what happens next.
Landlords aren’t obliged to provide alternative accommodation – it’s the responsibility of the local council when natural disasters cause homelessness.
However, 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.
Home emergency cover, which can be added to your existing landlord insurance policy, could be extremely valuable if your property is hit by a storm.
This type of cover allows you – or your tenants – to call a 24/7 emergency line if you need to call someone out to fix problems caused by extreme weather such as a broken boiler, water damage, or electrical faults.
Your landlord insurance can help to cover the cost of repair work that needs to be done. It’s best to contact your insurer as soon as you can after a 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.
Read more about making a claim. Sedgwick handle claims on behalf of Simply Business customers (unless otherwise stated in your policy document). You can contact them by phone, letter, or email – whatever works for you. We run through what to expect once you’ve made your claim.
For more tips and information on how to make a claim, visit our winter weather resource.
Have you been affected by a storm? If you're a Simply Business customer and need to speak to Sedgwick, you can call 24/7 on 0333 207 0560.
Do you have any unanswered questions about what to do if a storm hits your rental property? Let us know in the comments below
Photograph 1: Richard Johnson/stock.adobe.com
Zach Hayward-Jones is a Copywriter at Simply Business, with six years of writing experience across entertainment, insurance, and financial services. Zach specialises in covering small business and landlord insurance. He has a particular interest in issues impacting the hospitality industry after spending a number of years working as a pastry chef.
We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer
6th Floor99 Gresham StreetLondonEC2V 7NG
Sol House29 St Katherine's StreetNorthamptonNN1 2QZ
© Copyright 2023 Simply Business. All Rights Reserved. Simply Business is a trading name of Xbridge Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Financial Services Registration No: 313348). Xbridge Limited (No: 3967717) has its registered office at 6th Floor, 99 Gresham Street, London, EC2V 7NG.