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Best Way to Handle Water Damage to Your Rental Property

Rainwater penetrates through the cracks of the wall, destroyed wall and laminate floor.

As a landlord, you have many responsibilities to your tenants. For example, if your property is in a flood-prone area, one of your biggest responsibilities is purchasing flood insurance. But even though you may have insurance to cover possible damage from stormy weather, not all flood damage comes from outside your home. In fact, it’s much more common for landlords to deal with water damage caused by leaking appliances or broken pipes. If you have a rental property, you should be prepared to prevent water damage before it happens and deal with water damage after it occurs.

Be Prepared

As George Washington once said, your best defense is a strong offense. So, before you offer a property for rent, make sure you’ve done as much as you can to prevent water damage from occurring.

  1. Get a Whole Home Inspection
    To increase your chances of preventing leaky appliances or burst pipes, hire a plumbing professional to inspect your property. They’ll crawl under your home, investigate every water source, and look for telltale signs of pipe corrosion, damaged fixtures, or other hints that leaks are happening or will happen in the future.

  1. Check the Roof
    Unless you recently installed new shingles, have the roof and inside the attic examined for leaks or signs of water damage.

  1. Know Your Flood Risk
    Use the FEMA website to see if your property is in a high-risk flood zone. If it is, make sure you purchase flood insurance because your homeowner’s insurance won’t cover weather-related flooding.

  1. Prepare Your Renters
    Once you’ve leased the property, make sure your renters have renter’s insurance to cover any water damage not covered by the landlord’s policy—like personal property and temporary housing. Also, be sure your renters know where the main water shut-off valves are in case a pipe bursts late at night.

Act Quickly

Emergencies happen, even to landlords who’ve been diligent about maintenance. If you have a plumbing failure or weather-related flooding at your rental property, being prepared to act quickly can minimize the damage.

  1. Stop the Water
    If the cause of flooding is a burst pipe, make sure you or your tenant turn off the main water shut-off valve as soon as possible.

  1. Turn Off Electricity and Gas
    If it’s safe to do so, shut off your property’s electricity and gas, especially after a weather-related flood. If you’re not absolutely sure it’s safe, call the utility company and have them send someone to shut them off.

  1. Minimize Property Damage
    Remove items that might leave a stain on the wet carpet. If you can’t remove the item, put aluminum foil under its legs. Lift curtains, draperies, or upholstered furniture skirts away from wet carpet or standing water. If your property has two stories, move as many items as possible to the second floor.

  1. Temporary Housing
    If the property needs to be evacuated, help your tenants find temporary housing. Their renter’s insurance should cover the cost.

Related Topic: How NOT to Fix Water Damaged Wood Floors

Why Call the Professionals?

Even with all your careful preparation and maintenance, there are some things landlords shouldn’t try to do by themselves. In the case of flooding, it’s important to call professionals trained to handle the aftermath of water damage. Even small events involving water can lead to mold, warped wood, and stained walls if not treated quickly. It’s especially crucial to call a professional if you have water damage involving drywall, saturated carpets, or leaks occurring in the attic or inside the walls.

Professional Water Damage Restoration

If your rental property experiences a water damage event, be sure to call the professionals at Rainbow International. Our certified water damage restoration experts are available 24/7, 365 days a year to help you minimize loss of property and get your tenants back into their home as soon as possible. Rainbow can help you remove damaged items, put up tarps to prevent further damage, and make sure your floors are dried in a way that avoids warping. Most important, Rainbow will make sure no mold or odors remain after the water is gone. Contact us at 855-724-6269 or request an appointment online to get fast, quality, start-to-finish water damage restoration today. At Rainbow, “Restoration begins now”.