The summer months are nearly over, and autumn and winter will soon be here, bringing with them bad weather. With rain comes flooding, and with high winds comes the potential of fallen trees and fence panels, among other possible damage. It's important as a tenant, you understand where you stand with regards to protecting your property against the elements.
It's raining outside - and oh wait, now it's raining inside?! What should you do if your rental property is damaged by bad weather?
In the first instance, as soon as weather-related damage occurs, contact your letting agent or landlord. Your landlord’s telephone number and address should be included in your tenancy agreement. You’ll need to tell the landlord the following:
- What has happened
- What damage has been caused
- What, if anything, you have done to try to repair the situation
- Whether the damage has affected any of the neighbours' properties
- And whether the property is still habitable.
If you are unable to get through to anyone, make sure to take time-stamped photographs to help fully document the damage and, in an emergency, phone the appropriate maintenance company.
For any repairs that the landlord is responsible for, they will have to carry these out within a reasonable timeframe. It's worth noting though, in some cases the landlord’s insurance company may cause a delay, or the landlord may have difficulty finding a tradesman to attend if lots of other people have experienced similar issues in the area.
Michael Cook, Managing Director of Romans Lettings, advises you to re-read your contract as well: “Double check the terms in your tenancy agreement and, don't assume your landlord will cover the costs for any damage that occurs - especially to personal belongings.”
If you're away from your rental property during the winter, it's your responsibility to make sure the pipes don't freeze. As a precaution it's best to set a timer so the heating comes on at the coldest parts of the day at a low temperature.
Flooding can not only damage your building, but also your personal belongings. Always check your personal contents insurance covers water damage, especially if you live near a river, lake or an area prone to floods.
Left in the dark
If possible, check the UK Power Networks website in the first instance of a power cut. The website will give you updates on the current situation. If the power cut affects more than just your home, get in touch with your utility provider directly before you contact your landlord.