This is one of the most time-sensitive issues that could occur. In the best-case scenario, you’re looking at stains and probably mould.
What’s worse is when the electrical system is exposed to the water, then critical risks arise. Just as serious is structural damage, such as a weakened foundation, rotted wood, and erosion that leads to sagging ceilings.
This can be a real nightmare to deal with for both tenants and landlords. Here’s what’s best to do in such situations to minimise the damage and reduce your expenses.
Types of water damage found in the rental property
Several things could go wrong when your home is exposed to abundant amounts of water, depending on the affected area and the source.
If left unattended, a burst pipe or leaking fixture can seep into the wooden floorboards and cause warping. Walls can crumble and warp as well. Mould can grow on surfaces and become hazardous if untreated.
Above all, electrical outlets, wiring, and appliances can short-circuit and immediately catch fire. The water can become charged and fatally shock whoever’s exposed to it, leading to fatal outcomes.
Some leaks can bring about contaminated water, like from washing machines or even worse– sewage.
Both pose a significant health risk that could lead to evacuation and the intervention of health authorities since the spread of bacterial and viral infections is possible. This could cause different illnesses, from gastrointestinal illness and respiratory problems to skin infections.
Another problem is when the water causes property damage.
As mentioned, it seeps into the floors and walls and can extend to the foundation of the home and weaken it to the point of shifting and potentially collapsing. That is visible in the form of cracked walls, uneven floors, sagging ceilings, and other deformities.
What to do when the rental property experiences water damage
How you handle the situation can considerably reduce the damage and inconvenience caused by the event.
Here’s how to go about dealing with it:
Thoroughly documenting everything can help investigators with the verdict on the cause and determine which of the parties involved are responsible.
Both the landlord and tenant can benefit from having authentic evidence as it allows insurance companies to reimburse one of the parties or both, depending on the details of the incident. Just as important is how documentation helps with the property damage assessment and with avoiding disputes.
Take high-resolution pictures from multiple angles.
Ensure you include the reference points that help visualise the scale of the damage. For example, if it’s a stain, you would put a common measuring ruler next to it. Consider using labels to help describe and provide context for the pictures you took.
Schedule repair appointments
It’s recommended to do some research on companies that offer property repair services. Take the time to factor in the costs and time needed to execute them, but in most cases, it’s important to act as quickly as possible to avoid further damage.
Clean up as fast as possible – as if it’s the end of tenancy
You must deal with the mess as quickly as you can to avoid further damage caused by the remaining water. Use disinfectant to eliminate bacteria, and be sure to wear protective gloves, a face mask, and goggles.
It’s also advisable to get in touch with a cleaning service that’s appropriate for the kind of damage you have incurred. A general water damage restoration company will suffice, or you might need a mould remediation specialist.
Regardless, you still must clean up right away and ensure the affected areas become dry as quickly as possible. If you’re at the end of your tenancy, consider using a tenancy cleaning company to aid you in this matter.
Move out if you need to
If there’s severe damage, you might need to stay elsewhere until the property is repaired.
Eliminating bacteria or cleaning mould can take time, even more so if there’s structural damage that needs repairing. You can stay with a family member or a friend, but a budget-friendly hotel room near your location can also work out.
Perform regular property maintenance
That’s one of the best things you can do to prevent such a painful situation from happening again.
Here’s how to maintain your property to reduce the risk of water damage occurring to a minimum:
Inspect your roof
You will need to check whether everything’s intact. Make sure shingles and tiles aren’t cracked or missing. The same goes for the vents. Naturally, make sure the chimney cap is in one piece.
Clean your gutters
A dirty gutter can lead to blockages and clogs that eventually lead to overflows and water damage.
Check your doors and windows
If they ineffectively seal when they’re closed, they might need repairing or replacement. Make sure the points of damage, such as frames or weatherstripping, are replaced so that there are no gaps to let in rain or leaks from outside.
Maintain the plumbing system
If you neglect its regular upkeep, this can be the biggest culprit in water damage. Routine inspections will make sure your pipes and fixtures function as they should.
A well-maintained plumbing system will also reduce your utility bills and reduce the likelihood of unexpected expenses for repairs to a minimum.
Investing in the services of property maintenance companies is worth it. If it’s not feasible, you can do fine by administering maintenance yourself. That’s what these guides are for, after all.
Who is responsible for the costs of the property damage
Some tenants are surprised by dysfunctional plumbing systems or damaged draining and then find themselves in the tricky position of having to prove it’s not their fault. Similarly, landlords who conduct regular maintenance can unexpectedly receive reports from tenants about a sudden leak.
When the situation isn’t clear-cut with no apparent instigator, refer to the lease agreement, which likely dictates the responsibilities of each party. If it was violated in some way, that could immediately result in the end of tenancy.
Landlords take on a lot of the responsibility since they’re obligated to keep their properties up to code and regulations. They’re likely the most vulnerable party when unprecedented damage occurs, as it’s their responsibility to guarantee tenants a safe and maintained environment.
If the landlord and tenants cannot reach a resolution, hire a capable lawyer and take the matter to court. The responsible party will then be legally forced to compensate the affected.
While it’s often costly and comes with many anxieties, dealing with water damage successfully is possible.
Reaching out to the appropriate services and inspectors is important to verify details of the damage and root out unfaithful testimonies.
Also, always refer to the lease agreement to know where you stand in regard to compensation and responsibility. And finally, conduct routine maintenance to avoid this whole conundrum altogether.