Landlords and Renters: Flood and Water Damage Responsibilities
When flooding affects apartments and other rented properties, both the landlord and the tenant are affected. Unfortunately, water damage happens quickly and worsens are time passes, so there's no time to figure out who is responsible for what. As a property owner with renters, you must understand what you're responsible for (such as damages you caused) and help your renters understand where their responsibilities lie (such as purchasing renter's insurance.)
In many areas of the country, landlords are not responsible to insure their tenants. Instead, tenants should have their own insurance policies. However, if property owners have been negligent in maintaining their property and flooding is the result, property owners are generally liable for the damage. Other responsibilities include
- Hiring flood damage and repair professionals to correct and/or replace plumbing, wiring, appliances, and structural damages
- Repairing rental units until they are habitable again within a reasonable time (i.e. as quickly as possible)
- Reporting claims to their insurance coverage provider
- Tracking expenses related to the flooding to submit to the insurance provider
As landlords work to fulfill their duties, renters must also work to complete specific tasks on their end.
Renter's insurance is necessary if renters or tenants hope to be reimbursed for furnishings and other personal belongings. For the best outcome, property owners should advise their renters to purchase the insurance coverage. Many providers require a 30-day waiting period, so renters should act quickly. Other responsibilities include
- Complying with safety regulations
- Seeking their own temporary living location
- Contacting their insurance provider with reports of the damage
- Notifying landlords if they choose to cancel the lease and move
- Staying in communication with landlords
If flooding causes significant inconvenience but doesn't force tenants to leave the housing, they may request rent adjustment during the flood cleanup period.
Renters in Melbourne Village, FL, share concerns with property owners when their apartment or rented living space suffers flood damages. It's best that both parties understand their area of responsibility and work together to recover.