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Flooding in rental properties can expose landlords to unexpected potential bills. Floods can threaten lives, buildings and belongings and affect both landlords and tenants.

With sea levels rising more and more and increasing bad unexpected rainstorms, flooding is at an all time high and cannot be ignored by landlords. Flooding in the UK costs around 2.2 billion a year and in England alone there is a staggering 5.2 million properties at risk of flooding (source: gov.uk website)

Flooding can be caused by many different things but the most common include:

  •      Heavy or prolonged rainfall
  •      Poor drainage in the area
  •      Little open soil in the area to transport the rain that falls

The financial and psychological impacts

The risks of flooding is very real and must not be ignored. Flooding can destroy properties, belongings and ruin people’s lives. Tenants who experience flooding also experience stress and anxiety over the situation and may worry about their future, where they are going to live and how will they replace their belongings. Flooding can do immense damage which can take years to repair.

Repairing properties back to their original condition can be costly and time consuming for landlords, it can require a lot of work and they may have to employ several people to help repair the property.  On average it costs £30,000 to return a three bedroom property to its original condition (building.co.uk) On top of this the landlord is also responsible to pay to repaint the property, replace any unusable items, for example carpets, and for any cleaning services that may be required in order to return the property back to its original condition. This, along with months of disruption in order to complete the repairs, causes catastrophic effects on both landlords and tenants and can disrupt their lives greatly.

Tenants may also be able to claim for reduced rent in the months that the repairs are taking place depending on how bad the damage is. This will be the case if they are unable to use every room within the property. It may be the case that the tenant does not have to pay rent at all if the damages are so severe that they have to leave the property and move somewhere else. This adds to the economic impact and adds to the stress of the situation for the landlord.

What can Landlords do?

So what preventative measures can help landlords and tenants avoid flooding? Landlords should be aware of the risk of floods and assess the risk of flooding in certain areas. They should know how the house is built and whether or not it can withstand flooding as of course it is better to prevent flooding rather than repair it ! Landlords may choose to raise the house up on stilts to prevent flooding, however this can be costly. They may also choose to invest in a coating which can be applied to walls and doors to stop water entering the property through cracks. Non-return valves may be fitted on to drains in order to only allow the water to flow in one direction. Flood barriers can be fitted to doors and windows to prevent water entering the property.

Figures from the Association of British Insurers (ABI) state that to prevent a property from shallow floods it could cost between £2,000 – £6,000, depending on the size and layout of the property. However if there is persistent, long term flooding it could cost up to £40,000 as it will require bigger changes. (source abi.org.uk website)

Steps tenants can take

At first signs of flooding the tenant should make sure to switch their electric off, raise all furniture, rugs, sofas and electrical appliances, to the upper floor. They should also ensure to clear out their drains and gutters to keep the water flowing. Following these steps will help to minimise damage and therefore reduce the cost of repairs for the landlord. It could be useful for the landlord to ensure the tenant knows what practical steps to take if there was a flood as this would minimise the amount of damage done to the property.

How can Flood Re help?

With so many properties in the UK at risk of flooding insurance premiums are constantly rising. The price of insurance for landlords depends on the area in which the house is and the likeliness of flooding in the area. The more likely an area is to flood the more expensive the insurance will be. Flood Re works along with insurers to keep insurance premiums down. Flood Re offers useful guides on their website to help households  prevent flooding and minimise the risks.

How can Imperial Claims Consultants help?

We’re a team of experienced loss assessors who are trained to handle claims on behalf of home owners and landlords across the UK. We work for you – not your insurance company – meaning our focus is on getting the most out of your claim. And, provided our panel of contractors carries out any refurbishment works, it won’t cost you a penny. Find out more here and get in touch if you have a claim you’d like us to look at.