Dealing with Storm Damage to Your Rental Property
Natural disasters are going to happen and unfortunately, it is impossible to determine how bad it will be and what damage might be done. Here in the UK, storms often bring a combination of heavy rain and strong winds. However, the severity and type of weather can vary, and storms can also include other elements like snow, depending on the season and location within the UK. It’s always a good idea to stay informed about local weather conditions and be prepared for different types of storms. Read on to learn how to protect your rental property when the weather outside is frightful.
When a weather warning is given
As stated, not all weather issues can be predicted and storms can be a disaster for a rental property owner. However, weather authorities do monitor all storms and work diligently to give at least a 24 hour notice that a storm is impending. These warnings should be taken seriously and once a warning is put out, it is up to the rental property owner to prepare the tenants.
Good practices for landlords to ensure the safety and well-being of tenants during extreme weather conditions:
- In the event of flood warnings, landlord should provide tenants with sandbags to protect vulnerable areas and prevent floodwaters from entering the property.
- When facing high wind warnings, landlord should instruct tenants how to secure outdoor items. Items susceptible to wind should be tied down or brought inside to prevent potential damage to the property from flying debris.
- In cases of severe weather with high winds, landlord should consider covering windows with plywood to minimise the risk of property damage.
- During snowfall warnings, landlord should conduct a visual inspection. Ensure there is no existing roof damage that could be exacerbated by snow. Clean and clear gutters to ensure proper flow, and consider salting walkways to prevent slips on icy surfaces for the safety of tenants and their guests.
Preparations to make in advance
In the event of a dangerous storm, there is always hope for tenants and rental property owners. The key is prevention and preparations to minimise the possibility of damage.
Damage to the roof may not be visible until the roof is leaking, so a regular roof inspection is the key to success. Heavy rains and snow can compromise a damaged roof, so it is best to maintain the buildings roof above all else. Inspection before the winter comes is essential, as well as subsequent inspections after heavy storms.
Cracks in the gutter system can widen, especially during the frigid winter months. An obstructed gutter system will not expel water from the building, increasing the potential for more damage. Regularly cleaning the gutters is crucial to avoid this increased risk of damage.
One of a rental property owner’s worst fears during the winter is for a pipe to burst. A busted pipe can do significant damage to the entire property and cost a lot to fix, but a smart property owner knows prevention is key. Wrap exposed piping in insulation and have pipes inspected regularly to account for any possible issues.
Windows and doors
Improperly sealed windows can allow winter weather and rain to come right into the building. Inspect all windows to ensure proper sealing and repair any damage right away to avoid the potential for a very large problem during a storm.
First of all, inform all tenants where the shut-off valve for the building is. In the event there is a water leak, the faster the water can be turned off, the less damage there will be. Make sure outside water tanks are properly insulated for the weather because you do not want one to crack or bust if it freezes.
What to do if your rented property is damaged by a storm?
If your rented property sustains damage from a storm, the initial reaction can be devastation and confusion, but taking swift and well-informed action is crucial. Firstly, prioritise the safety of yourself and your family. Ensure everyone is accounted for and, if necessary, seek temporary accommodation until the property is deemed safe. Please note, the landlord is not obligated to find accommodations for tenants displaced by a storm.
Promptly report the damage to your landlord, providing detailed documentation, including photographs, if possible. It’s essential to familiarise yourself with your lease agreement to understand the responsibilities of both the landlord and the tenant in such situations. Communicate openly with your landlord about the necessary repairs and expected timelines. Keep records of all communication and, if applicable, consult your renter’s insurance policy to determine coverage for temporary relocation or damaged belongings. Lastly, follow any guidelines or instructions provided by local authorities regarding storm recovery and property safety.
Can storm damage be considered housing disrepair?
Damage to a property caused by storms and bad weather conditions can potentially be considered housing disrepair. Housing disrepair refers to situations where the property is in a state of disrepair or neglect, affecting the living conditions and well-being of the tenants. If a storm leads to structural damage, leaks, dampness, or other issues that impact the habitability of the property, it may fall under the category of housing disrepair.
In such cases, tenants should promptly report the issues to their landlord, providing details of the damage and requesting repairs. Landlords have a legal responsibility to address housing disrepair and ensure that the property is maintained in a safe and habitable condition.
Tenants may also have rights to seek legal advice or assistance of housing disrepair solicitors if the landlord fails to address the disrepair issues within a reasonable timeframe. It’s essential to check the terms of the lease agreement and relevant housing laws in the jurisdiction to understand specific rights and obligations in the event of storm-related damages.
Where to turn for help with housing disrepair issues?
At SilverOak Solicitors, our housing disrepair experts specialise in assisting clients dealing with housing disrepair issues to their rented properties. In the event of housing disrepair caused by storms or adverse weather conditions, our experienced team is dedicated to ensuring that tenants’ rights are upheld. We work diligently to address issues such as structural damage, leaks, and other weather-related concerns.
By providing expert legal guidance and advocacy, we aim to help tenants secure the necessary repairs and improvements to make their homes safe and habitable. We work on a No Win No Fee basis for council and housing associations tenants. Our team is committed to ensuring that clients receive the compensation and resolution they deserve in the face of storm related housing disrepair.
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