Even if you haven’t been directly affected, there has been no getting away from weather warnings across the UK. Over the past few weeks we have seen countless reports of lakes and rivers overflowing and houses under several feet of water, as well as thousands of properties being left without power over the Christmas period. However, flooding in the UK is nothing new, which is why landlords need to learn four integral lessons to make sure they aren’t affected in the future:
1) Flooding in the UK is a real threat
It’s an on-going joke that if the weather is anything other than mild in the UK we are unable to cope, as public transport grinds to a halt and schools are closed nationwide. However, as we have seen over the past few weeks flooding is no laughing matter, with its effects being extremely hard-hitting across the UK. The fact of the matter is that even though the government and local authorities have been trying to minimise the damage caused by flooding each year, most of the UK public seems to forget how devastating it can be until it’s too late. It’s only when their homes are under two feet of water that they realise that small stream nearby can turn into a real threat after a few days of heavy rain.
2) Flooding causes more than just water damage
As previously discussed, this year’s floods not only led to many households being faced with thousands of pounds of water damage but also no heat or electricity for a number of days. This is extremely dangerous during the winter months where temperatures can easily drop below zero most evenings. Cold weather and damp can cause numerous health problems, however if you add to this the danger of falling into floodwater or running out of essential supplies such as food and water you can see that the effects of flooding can be extremely dangerous. There were also winds of up to 80mph during some of the storms which led to the floods, causing damage to thousands of properties and also accidents on many roads.
3) Insurance companies are finding it harder to help
Due to the fact that some areas in the UK are surrounded by water, or are just naturally more prone to flooding, a number of landlord insurance companies are finding it more and more difficult to offer flood insurance. Even though the government has created a scheme called Flood Re in order to help those that struggle to find flood insurance, there have been reports that only half a million households will benefit from it, when by 2020 just under one million homes will be affected. Even those that currently have flood insurance could find their premiums increasing over the next few years as it is estimated that insurance companies will have to pay out hundreds of millions of pounds to clear up the damage caused over the past few weeks.
4) Landlords need to create serious flood plans
When it comes to the risk of flooding most landlords will have some sort of back-up plan such as providing their tenants with sandbags or keeping a key eye on the Environment Agency’s flood warnings, however it’s time that they do more. With flooding becoming a real danger to thousands of properties, creating a serious plan will not only protect your tenants but also your business in the long term. One way to ensure you aren’t left struggling due to floods is to regularly check how much risk each of your properties poses and creating a detailed flood plan for each one. It’s also important that your tenants take flooding as seriously as you do, which means having an evacuation plan should the worst happen. Failing to leave a property when first advised could result in your tenants being left in danger, so if you know one of your properties is based in a high risk area you should make a conscious effort to contact your tenants as soon as a flood risk has been reported.
Over the next few weeks clean-up will begin in order to salvage what is left of the properties which have been damaged by floods, however without better preparation we could be faced with the same issues again next year.