While water damage is not something that a landlord will want to deal with at any time, a situation will inevitably arise where this disaster could arise at a rental unit. When this happens, it’s crucial to already have a plan of action in place that will not only help minimize inconvenience for tenants, but will also prevent as much property damage as possible from occurring to the structure itself.
Common Causes of Water Damage
The most common ways in which water causes damage to rental properties include:
- Burst pipes that are a result of outdated infrastructure or badly fitted piping in and around a property
- Leaking or broken water heaters
- Holes or leaks in roofing that allow water to enter a property
- Flooding as a result of hurricanes, storms or other adverse weather
A Fast Response is Vital
Regardless of what has caused water damage, landlords will need to act fast if they want to prevent further property damage from occurring. This can be done by:
Halting the Water Flow
This is the most crucial step to take. If a tenant informs a landlord that water damage has occurred at a rental unit, it’s essential for the tenant to know where the main water supply shutoff valve is located – this will prevent more water from entering the property. Landlords should always show tenants where supply shutoff valves are located – just in case an emergency occurs.
Get the Professionals in ASAP
The main issue with water damage isn’t the actual water itself. Once its level starts receding, it leaves the inside of a property extremely wet and humid – which provides a prime spot for mold to develop. Black mold can begin forming in less than 48 hours, so it’s vital to act as quickly as possible.
Any affected drywall, carpeting, laminate flooring and other fixtures will need to be removed ASAP to inspect for further damage. When remediation needs to be performed on a water-damaged property, landlords should get professionals in to do the job.
Prevent Future Water Damage
Steps can be taken to help prevent water damage from occurring again, including:
Performing Regular Inspections
Having a professional home inspection performed at least once a year will help address any small water-related problems before they become big enough to cause significant damage. This is one situation where prevention is definitely better than cure.
Tenants must understand that they play an important role in preventing water damage. For instance, they should be shown how to insulate outside pipes before freezing weather arrives and know how to shut the water main off in an emergency.
Landlords should also ensure that they carry sufficient structural insurance on their rental properties, especially if they’re situated in flood zones. Several affordable options for this type of insurance are available these days, so it’s recommended that landlords spend as much as they can comfortably afford when signing up for this type of property protection.