Around the same time every year, the weather changes, and for what seems like an extraordinarily long period of time, the UK is subjected to heavy rain.
Naturally, not many people welcome this wet weather, however for landlords, the increase in precipitation can lead to flooding issues in their properties.
As flooding has become worse in some areas over the past few years, the problem is starting to become a concern for both the Government and insurance providers, which is why it is important you know what to do when it comes to floods.
Are you in a flood risk area?
In order to plan for flooding properly, the first thing you need to do is find out whether your property is in a flood risk area. Naturally, some parts of the country are more susceptible to flooding than others, so if you have a property near the coast or a river, you need to be especially careful.
There have also been numerous news reports that certain parts of Wales have been hit hard by flooding over the past few years due to the deterioration of the coast line, and it is expected that things to get even worse in the near future.
If you are unsure whether your property is in a flood risk area, then check the Environment Agency’s website, which provides information on areas that are prone to flooding and those that currently have flood warnings.
Check your insurance documents
As flooding has become more severe over the past few years, a number of home and landlord insurance providers have struggled to cover properties based in high-risk areas.
This has led to a number of homeowners claiming they are unable to afford insurance for their properties, which is why the Government has recently decided to step in. In order to help homeowners based in high flood risk areas, the Government has introduced a new scheme in which a not-for-profit insurance company called Flood Re provides insurance for those struggling with the prices on the open market.
However, there have already been some criticisms of the scheme, as even though the insurance premiums will be cheaper, they will still cost a third more than for a property in a low flood risk area, and properties built after 2009 may not be included.
Prepare in advance
Once you have established whether you are in a high-risk flood area and ensured that your landlord insurance protects you against flooding, the next thing you need to do is put measures into place that will protect your property.
These days, investing in sandbags is the bare minimum, as you can also buy flood-proof doors and windows, temporary flood barriers and even water-resistant skirting boards that will help protect your property. You can also make changes to the structure of your property in order to protect it against flooding, such as applying waterproofing sealant to exterior walls, and landscaping your garden and driveway in order to divert water away from your property.
What to do if your property becomes flooded
If your property is susceptible to flooding, you need to make this clear to your tenants as soon as they move into the property, as well as provide them with a flood plan so that they can stay safe during a flood.
The most important thing for your tenants to remember is to stay away from the floodwater as much as possible, as even a small amount could be harmful. You should also advise your tenants that if their homes do become flooded, they should turn off the water, gas and electricity and move to higher ground.
If they have children, it is especially important that they stay safe and away from the water, and have blankets wrapped around them to keep them warm. It is also advisable for your tenants to have a torch, first aid kit, food supplies and medication at hand, as well as a mobile phone so that they can call 999 if they feel they are in danger.
Even though the rain has just begun, there have already been a number of flood warnings throughout the UK, which is why making a flood plan now is essential for all landlords.
Preparing for floods will not only keep your property safe, but also your tenants, and will also ensure that if your property is affected it can be dealt with as quickly as possible.