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Understanding Landlord Responsibilities in Case of Water Damage in a Rental Property

The Listing Real Estate Management - Friday, May 7, 2021
Property Management Blog

When it comes to rental properties, figuring out who is responsible for water damage restoration in Orlando can be complicated. While the tenant lives in the property, the landlord remains its lawful owner. 

Water damage may result from several reasons such as; plumbing issues, water overflow, roof leaks, pipe bursts, and more. Whether you are a landlord or a tenant, it is essential to know the different kinds of water damage that can hit your property and the division of responsibilities.

House flooding is a terrible experience that every resident dreads. According to CEO Restoration, a water damage restoration company in Orlando, some common reasons for flooding include faulty appliances, burst pipes, and blocked gutters.

Common Water Damage Emergencies

Up to 14,000 people in the US come across a water damage emergency at their homes or workplace every day. Water damage restoration in Orlando can be costly, which is why it is crucial to understand the different kinds of water damage that take place so that you are always prepared to tackle the issue. 

From poor weather conditions to a leaking water heater, here are some of the common causes of water damage:

1. Blocked Gutters

The gutter system in your house is responsible for taking the rainwater away from the property. At times, the gutters may get clogged due to branches, leaves, and other kinds of debris. 

In this case, the rainwater is unable to flow away from your property. It may overflow the edges of your gutter, run down your boundary walls, or cause water damage on the walls, floors, or ceilings.

2. Bad Weather

Water damage is a real risk when natural disasters strike, such as thunderstorms and hurricanes. Strong winds and rainfall may damage your roof, making rainwater rush straight into your house. Severe weather conditions can, sometimes, also cause flash flooding.

3. Leaking Pipes

A loose-fitting pipe in your kitchen sink can cause damage to the cabinet underneath it. Alternatively, a broken pipe within the walls of your home can lead to even more complex water damage restoration issues. That can damage the entire wall and even cause mold growth.

4. Air Conditioner Condensation

Your AC unit produces condensation, where the moisture from the unit’s evaporator coil falls into a drain pan and eventually out of your house through a condensate drain line. 

The drainage system tends to function well unless the drain pan gets damaged or dirt blocks the condensate drain line. In this case, the water from your AC unit can damage the floors or walls of your property. 

5. Leaking Water Heater

Water heaters can sometimes leak, especially if they are old or poorly installed. At times, excess tank pressure can cause the leak. In case of a leaking water heater, your basement may get flooded quickly as that is where you typically install the heaters.

Landlord Responsibilities

As the owner of a rental property, you need to ensure that your house is safe and livable. Here is a breakdown of a landlord’s responsibilities: 

1. Ensuring Habitability

As a landlord, you are responsible for renting out a habitable property, which according to law, implies that you should take care of essential plumbing. For instance, the property must have a functioning toilet, a tub or shower, warm and cold running water, and other necessities.

You are also required to undertake regular maintenance of your rental property so that you can detect any plumbing problems in time. It would be best to handle the wear and tear of your rental property’s plumbing.

In case there is a plumbing issue that requires the water supply to be turned off or forces a tenant out of the rental property for a day, then it can raise questions about the habitability of the property. For instance, if the toilet becomes unusable due to a blocked drain and a plumber is unable to reach the rental property till the next day, then the tenant would require an alternate place to stay.

2. Cost of Repair

Landlords in Orlando incur the cost of water damage restoration. If you fail to resolve your tenant’s issue, the tenant has the right to withhold the rent or move out of the rental property. 

However, this does mean that the tenant can abuse the law. If tenants cause water damage, then they will be obliged to pay for it. In case they do not, you can deduct the amount from their security deposit.

Most states require landlords to either offer discounted rent for the displaced nights or cover all or part of the cost of a hotel stays for the duration. Landlords usually decide these responsibilities in the lease agreement and go through it again with the tenant whenever such an eventuality arises.

Final Thoughts

You can minimize the impact of water damage by drafting a detailed contract and purchasing renter’s insurance. Water damage is a common issue, which is why it is wise to include it in your rental property agreement. When landlord and tenant responsibilities are clear, it becomes easier to handle these issues.

Several states require landlords to purchase renter’s insurance. You can manage financial risks to a great extent if your renter’s insurance includes water damage. As a landlord, you are responsible for reporting the damage to your rental property to the relevant insurance provider.


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