With climate change and the resulting increased rainfall and melting polar icecaps, the risk of flooding is increasing in places that have never flooded before. We have seen it on the news and it looks awful. What do you do if you have a rental property? What can you do to minimise the risk and what do you do if the worst happens?
Check and prevent
The first thing to do is to check your risk of flooding. You can do this by visiting the government website, www.gov.uk, and searching for checking your flood risk. This is easy to use by entering the property’s postcode and door number.
The result dictates your next actions. If your property is in serious risk of flooding, start getting prepared now before it happens. Getting sandbags would be a good start, but there are plenty of other precautions you can take. These will cost money – varying amounts depending on how far you want to go – but it beats having your rental totally ruined. You could build the precautions into normal household refurbishments and repairs to save money if time is not of the essence. Saga has some useful advice on this topic (https://www.saga.co.uk/magazine/home-garden/homes-interiors/property-maintenance/protect-home-floods).
If the worst happens
In this case, you can only take remedial action. Take photographs of the damage as soon as possible, or ask your tenants to do this. Notify your insurance company as soon as possible. If you rent out a property, you should already have an inventory, meaning full details of the physical property and the contents. Fortunately, you can obtain property inventory software from providers such as https://inventorybase.co.uk to make your life much easier.
Good software will enable you to not only schedule inspections and dates of people moving in and out but also to create detailed inventories, which is exactly what you need in the case of flooding. The details recorded in the inventory will form the basis of your insurance claim; what’s more, this will provide an audit trail for your insurance company.
Of course, if your property is liable to flooding, you would be well advised to inform the renters at the start so that they can make their own arrangements. Check this with your legal advisors and ensure that the rental agreement is fit for purpose.