Water Damage Rental Property
Many people are convinced that owning real estate is an enviable way to earn extra income. More people today are renting than at any other time in the last 50 years, so there are plenty of tenants looking to rent ones investment property. Landlords enjoy supplemental income for their investment, but there are no guarantees that emergencies do not happen like a rental property with water damage.
The typical downsides of being a landlord are tenants that pay late or not at all, tenants that neglect the property refusing to cut the lawn or shovel the snow and the regular maintenance of the property. If the rental property has a basement than there is an increased risk you will someday have a rental property with water damage.
Water damage from a plumbing malfunction.
Rental properties are subject to the same maintenance issues as any home. There are plumbing systems that can leak, sewers that can backup and water using appliances like washing machines and dish washers that can cause rental property water damage. But often the water damage you have to ultimately manage on a rental property could have been avoided. But renters are not as responsible for the protection of your income property when water issues manifest, as you would be as an owner.
If you discover a water leak in your home from a leaky faucet or burst water heater, you will more than likely fix the problem before it becomes severe. However, this is not the case with renters. They can allow rental property water damage to go on for months without making you aware of it. A slow leaking faucet can become a fast dripping sink that destroys kitchen cabinets with water damage before they notify you of any problem. A leaky hot water heater which could be addressed and replaced can go on for months until it abruptly burst and completely floods the basement.
Small amounts of water will make a rental property with water damage.
It does not require a large amount of water to damage flooring, walls or cabinets. A small amount will do great damage and if left for months without being remediated will result in mold and even health issues for the tenants. If for instance each time it rains and the floor drain backs up a little and soaks up into the dry wall, there is sure to be water damage that needs service to keep them from becoming moldy.
If each time the dish washer is used a little bit of water leaks onto the floor, before long the floor could be greatly compromised from the water damage and even require complete replacement. The same goes for a washing machine that each time during the discharge cycle leaks and makes it way to a small carpeted area. Eventually the carpet will show signs of water damage and could even require replacement. There are even extreme stories of roof leaks that go on for years before the landlord is informed there is even an issue. Such extreme cases have made for rental property with water damage that was very costly to fix.
Intentional water damage vandalism
You don’t have to be a landlord for long before you learn not all renters are created equal. Most renters that fall behind in the rent are responsible individuals that will try to work things out with the landlord, while others may connive of a way to reduce or get out of a month’s rent. Such is the case of a southeast Michigan landlord that learned of this the hard way. After trying to negotiate the late rent with a tenant the tenant got belligerent and thought of a way to hurt the landlord and maybe knock off a month or two of rent. They opened the windows in the home during below freezing temperatures after they first removed the insulation wrap around the water lines in an exterior wall. Before long the water pipe froze, broke and made a tremendous water damage nightmare. The tenants called to inform the landlord of his rental property with water damage. Of course they informed him the water damaged their personnel contents and they should not have to pay for that months rent.
Who is responsible for a rental property with water damage?
The law makes it clear that the landlord is responsible to provide a safe, sanitary and habitable property for tenants to live in. If the roof leaks, if there are plumbing issues or the sewer backs up and floods the basement, it is up to the landlord to provide cleanup and repairs as soon as possible. Often lessee’s will make the initial call to a water damage restoration company after the basement floods from a sewer backup, but the cost ultimately belongs to the landlord, it is their property.
There are of course several caveats that would make the tenant responsible like a waterbed that burst and floods a bedroom carpet or an aquarium that breaks and gets water on the hard wood flooring. However, if they do not willingly pay for the cleanup, it is the landlord that will suffer for the rental property with water damage. If tenants do not act responsibly and pay for the cleanup and repairs then it behooves the landlord to manage and pay for the cleanup to prevent permanent water damage to the property.
Water leaks that produce standing water will eventually make the rental property with water damage uninhabitable. The presence of water in dry wall, carpet, cabinets or flooring will in a short period of time produce noticeable water damage and even mold. When this occurs the landlord needs to be notified so they can act as quickly as possible by having the water damaged property inspected by a local water damage company.
Rental property with water damage
Action Extraction water damage of Macomb MI provides emergency service for flooded basements that backup from sewer drains. They have seen many water damaged properties over the last 30 years. The most costly water damage is when drains backup with abundantly contaminated sewer water. This water will completely destroyed carpet, dry wall, paneling and kitchen cabinetry with pathogenic germs.
The cost for the cleanup and repairs can devastate a landlord if they do not have the necessary funds at their immediate disposal or the correct type of homeowners insurance. Because basement flooding from a sewer drain is not an automatically covered loss under one’s homeowner’s insurance policy, it is important that landlords make sure their property is covered for sewer backups.
Insurance companies may cover cleanup of a rental property with water damage
If the landlord has purchased a homeowners insurance policy that includes, “backup of sewer or drain” than the cost for repairs after a sewer backup or sump pump failure should be covered. This coverage is limited to a basic coverage amount of $5,000.00 or $10,000.00.
When a rental property with water damage is cleaned up by a professional restoration company, they need to meet the necessary criteria, in order for insurance to cover the cleanup and repairs. This will include the date of loss, pictures of the initial water damage and graphs showing the details of the drying procedure.
Renters Insurance for tenant’s personal property
Landlords should strongly encourage their lessee’s to obtain their own renters insurance for their personal belongings should they become damaged by fire or flood. It is not the responsibility of a landlord to reimburse tenants should any of their personal property becomes destroyed by an emergency like a rental property with water damage.
This coverage is typically not required by landlords, but is very good to have. Personal property can be irreparably destroyed by water damage and it makes the disaster a bit more manageable when you know your belongings will be restored by an insurance company.
Water damage is an unfortunate situation for anyone to be in. It can cause a lot of stress, especially if you’re a renter in a home or an apartment. The lease will lay out all the information you need, but it’s a good idea to go over a few real estate laws. A lease is a contract, after all. If the contract isn’t followed, a tenant can use this against the landlord if they ever try to avoid charges for things.
Conclusion on rental property with water damage
It is the landlord that will be responsible for water damage cleanup of the rented property and the tenants that will be responsible for their own water damaged personal belongings. Both should do their due diligence in obtaining an insurance policy that will provide coverage in the event there is rental property with water damage.
Tenants need to be willing to alert the landlord immediately in the event of water damage to limit the affects and restore the property. The longer water remains without the appropriate cleanup and repairs the more likely things are to become worse. Mold is a real possibility and can be completely avoided when responsible actions are taken.
Call Action Extraction today to learn more about water damage.