As we’ve seen over the last few days, the start of the year normally coincides with a hefty increase in rainfall. Apart from being a miserable start to the year, heavy rain can result in severe flooding across England and Wales.
Being the victim of flooding can be heart-breaking for homeowners and tenants, as well as costly and inconvenient, as extreme weather conditions can cause serious damage to your home and any properties you let out.
If you're property sits in a potential flood risk zone, then here are some useful tips to help you and your tenants prepare:
1. Protect valuables
If flash foods are forecast, your tenants will want to prevent valuable items and documents from getting damaged. Suggest that they place them in waterproof bags, and store them upstairs or in high places.
2. Use the loft
For items that they don't use very often, give tenants the option to store them in the loft, providing it’s safe to do so.
3. Know how to turn off the gas, electricity and water mains supplies
Tenants may have to do this in the dark, so make sure they keep a torch and spare batteries in a place where they can easily find them.
4. Prepare water barriers
Use sandbags, vent guards or other flood protection to help keep water out, make sure everyone in the house knows how to use them. In an emergency, make a DIY sandbag by filling a pillowcase with sand or earth.
5. Make an evacuation plan
If tenants need to evacuate the property, make sure they have a plan of where to go. It's also important to check that their chosen route will be passable.
6. Be prepared
Prepare a flood kit containing items such as a broom, spade, mop and bucket; domestic detergent and disinfectant; rubber boots, gloves and protective clothing; waterproof torch and radio; bottled water for drinking.
7. Get first warning
Sign up for Floodline Warnings by calling on 0345 988 1188. or by visiting the Environment Agency website.
8. Make sure you're covered
Even if you take every preventative measure, there's still a risk that your property might flood, which is why it's important to make sure that you have the right landlord insurance cover in place to protect your property, and your tenants' belongings. Most landlord insurance policies will provide cover for fire, flood and subsidence - but it's worth checking this with your insurer, just in case.