If you're a landlord, you'll likely experience a flooding issue at least once. An appliance will break or the plumbing will overflow - either way, you're dealing with a house full of water. What can you do to minimize your property damage?
When Is Emergency Response Warranted?
Any time water is involved, it is considered an emergency. That means you don't need to give notice to your tenant to enter; you can have an emergency plumbing service stop by right away. Water damage can get bad fast. If you've noticed water coming from your house or seen water damage occurring from the window, you're within your rights to address the problem immediately.
Likewise, if your tenant mentions that there's a leak somewhere in the house, you should stop what you're doing. A leak can get bad quickly, and something what looks like a small leak could possibly be indicative of a much larger one elsewhere. Your tenants also have rights, which include being in a non-hazardous situation.
Who Pays for the Damage to Your House?
Once the immediate emergency is over, you may wonder who is responsible. It depends. If the issue was due to wear and tear (such as old pipes leaking), then it's going to be your responsibility as a homeowner. Your landlord's insurance policy should cover it.
It's going to be your tenant's responsibility if they were negligent. An example of negligence is repeatedly flushing things down the toilet that shouldn't be flushed or failing to report a leak when it started. In this situation, the tenant's renters insurance should cover the damage.
If they don't have renters insurance, you may need to get payment from the tenant directly. This collection may need to occur through small claims court if they refuse to pay their bill.
What Do You Need to Do to Fix the Damage?
Just dealing with the source of the water isn't enough. You'll also need a complete mitigation to remove the moisture completely from your property. A professional cleaning and extraction team will make sure that the property is clean and dry.
This step is important. When a property floods, the water saturates all of the materials in the property. If left alone, this moisture could lead to rot and mold. Ultimately, water damage will lead to structural damage. Water damage will also make the home unhealthy and unsafe to live in.
If the house flooded due to a plumbing emergency, the water could also have been filled with sewage and bacteria. Contaminated water will definitely lead to unhealthy and unsafe living conditions for your tenants, and you may become responsible for their illness if they get sick.
When Can You Start Renting Again?
You can start renting to your tenants again once the house has been completely cleaned and dried. If you were responsible for the flooding, then you may need to pay for their housing in the meantime. If they were responsible for the flooding, then they should find another place to stay temporarily. You should not let your tenants move back in until a professional has deemed everything safe.
After the flood, consider getting an air quality assessment. This will tell you whether unhealthy levels of mold may be in the air. Water damage is more serious than it can at first appear; it can look as though you've dried everything even though moisture still lurks beneath the surface. This is what makes contacting a professional so important.
If you've experienced water damage in your home, it's time for mitigation. Contact Floodmasters for a quote on emergency water extraction today.