Water damage in apartments often strikes and without warning. It’s a problem homeowner and landlords face at one time or another, and it can be a complete nightmare to handle.
There is added stress for those owning rental properties, as various questions come about: who is responsible for the damage, will your insurance policy cover the damage, where will your tenants go in the interim, and how do you tackle commercial water damage restoration?
Knowing who to call for commercial water damage restoration is essential and could save you more headaches in the future.
This post looks at how to handle water damage in apartments, what to do when your rental property is vacant, and how to prevent future water damage to your rental property.
What to Do When Water Damage Strikes Your Rental Property
So your tenant calls you up to say a tap was left running all night and the bathroom flooded, or a pipe has just burst. Now what? Always act quickly when it comes to water damage. This will help limit the amount of damage to your property.
Who Takes Responsibility?
Of course, it’s the landlord’s responsibility to make sure the property is habitable and safe. As a landlord, you are responsible for any damage that occurs due to your negligence. For example, bad plumbing or a leaking roof falls under your responsibility. But if your tenant is negligent and, for example, leaves the tap running all night, that’s their responsibility.
Whoever is responsible for the negligence that caused the water damage will be required to pay for any associated repairs and cleanup. In this vein, a landlord must explain to a tenant how important it is to get comprehensive coverage with their own home insurance, as they may face liabilities at some stage while renting.
Suppose water damage occurs due to a natural disaster such as a flood. In that case, the landlord will be responsible for contacting professional water damage restoration experts to handle the water damage.
What About an Airbnb Rental?
Airbnb offers Host Damage Protection and covers “damage to your place or belongings caused by a guest.” But whether you can prove the circumstances that caused the damage were the guests’ fault and not possible household wear and tear may be tricky. You can, of course, take the security deposit, but that may not cover all your expenses. Your best bet is to get a good homeowners insurance policy with extensive water damage coverage.
Record the Damage
To claim your costs with your insurance provider to repair and clean up water damage, you will need reliable evidence of the damage and what caused it. Make sure you document everything with photos and videos before getting started on the repairs.
Often you may find your tenant refuses to accept responsibility for the damage. In this case, it’s still essential to get started with repairs. You must still record the damage and document the cost for tax deductions and security deposit deductions. Ask for and document the restoration expert’s professional opinion on the fault. This will help you when claiming from insurance or in further legal procedures with your tenant.
Work with Your Tenants
If not dealt with swiftly, water damage in apartments can be very problematic. It can damage property further the longer it isn’t dealt with, and microbial growth can occur within 72 hours after water damage. You should communicate to your tenant how important it is to deal with the water damage when they sign the lease. This way, they can become aware of the risks and hopefully be on board to cooperate if a water damage situation arises.
In the event of water damage, you’d want your tenants to be willing to help with simple things like moving furniture from the water source and switching off the main water supply. They can also help you during the restoration process, especially if you cannot be there physically.
Restoration After Water Damage
No matter who is at fault, your property needs to be repaired and cleaned up as soon as water damage is detected. First, contact your insurance company and find out what is covered in your policy. Once you know this, you can contact a water restoration company to handle the damage. Even if you can take care of some of the repairs yourself, it’s best to get an opinion from the experts first, especially if your insurance policy requires experts to restore future coverage.
What to Do If Your Rental Property is Unoccupied
First off, if your property will be unoccupied at any stage for just a few days or a few months, make sure to update your insurance policy. Polices will often offer minimal coverage for vacant properties because there is an increased risk of possible damage. Additionally, after a property is vacant for more than 30 days, a policy may become void. So make sure you are aware of what your policy offers and the stipulations around vacant properties.
Insurance vacancy permits will offer elementary protection against natural disasters, but not vandalism, theft, glass damage, and escape of water. Unfortunately, these permits may also increase your premiums, so ensure you know what you’re in for.
During winter, the risk of water damage to vacant property increases considerably. This is because it’s more unlikely for people to notice if things go wrong within a vacant property, like frozen or burst pipes. Furthermore, your properties remain without heating when vacant, so the likelihood of freezing is much higher.
How to Reduce The Risk of Water Damage for Vacant Property:
- Turn off the water supply.
- Drain the water supply pipes and toilet tanks.
- Add non-toxic antifreeze in plumbing traps. This will reduce the risk of drain pipes and fixtures freezing and
- cracking if there’s a lack of heating.
- Install a temperature monitor to inform you if the heating stops.
- Install water sensors that can be triggered if water levels rise above a certain level.
- Have someone check up on the property regularly to see that everything is functioning optimally.
How to Prevent Future Water Damage
Let’s take a look at some preventative steps to take to lower the possibility of water damage occurring at your rental property again.
- Regular Maintenance and Inspections: Not all tenants will alert their landlord when they see a window leak or have a dripping tap. As a landlord, you should plan routine maintenance and inspections of your property to check your pipes, appliances, gutters, and roof are problem-free. This should help minimize any significant water issues creeping up on you.
- Communicate with Your Tenants: As tenants will hold some responsibility for water damage, you must communicate with them about the common risks that lead to water damage in apartments and how they can help prevent these issues. There are simple things tenants can look out for and even DIY measures they can implement if they notice any problems. They can inform you if they would rather stay out of any simple repair processes but still know how important it is to alert you immediately of any issues.
Adequate Insurance: It’s essential to understand your insurance policy and what it covers. It’s also good to investigate whether you need to take out a different or more detailed policy because, for example, your property lies in a flood zone.
Water damage in apartments is a widespread problem, and it has a destructive effect on properties. Due to this, landlords need to know how best to handle a water damage situation and how to work well with their tenants to prevent severe property damage.
Restoration 1 Is Here to Help with Your Water Damage Issues
When your home or rental property has suffered from water and mold damage, Restoration 1 helps address even the most severe property damage. We are certified by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification (IICRC). Combined with our experience, these certifications make us the reliable restoration service providers of choice to insurance companies across the nation.
Restoration 1 offers extensive help to commercial properties to develop an Emergency Preparedness Plan or to mitigate water and storm damage. We’ll put your property on a speedy path to recovery after a problem arises.
There is no substitute for professional commercial water damage restoration experts. Find a Restoration 1 location in your area today!