What to Do If Your Apartment Floods
It’s a nightmare scenario that no one ever wants to see– flooding. What do you do when your apartment floods?
Flooding is not only extremely common, but it’s also incredibly costly, even when there’s not much water. As little as an inch of water in your apartment could lead to permanent and expensive problems if not addressed properly.
National Geographic estimates that floods cause $8 billion in damage every year just in the United States. That’s a lot of damage.
If you’re in the unfortunate position of dealing with flooding in your apartment, don’t panic. By taking the proper steps to deal with the flooding, you can make the situation much more manageable. Here’s what to do:
Steps to Take For Your Flooded Apartment
1: Prioritize Everyone’s Safety
The first and most important thing to do if you notice flooding in your apartment is to make sure everyone living with you is safe. Get everyone away from the flooding if possible, including your pets.
Significant flooding in your apartment from a natural disaster is much more dangerous than contained flooding coming from a leaking roof, for example, but prioritizing safety should always be the first thing you do.
When there’s heavy flooding, especially from a natural disaster, the best course of action may be to leave your apartment and find a safe place to stay in the short term.
2: Try to Find the Source of the Flooding
No two floods are exactly alike. Flooding caused by frozen pipes bursting is different from flooding that stems from an overflowing sink. If you can find the exact source of the flooding, you’ll have a better chance of quickly addressing the problem.
Say, for instance, a clogged and overflowing toilet is the source of the flooding in your apartment. You might be able to shut off the water valve supplying the toilet to keep the flooding from getting any worse.
3: Contact Your Landlord
If you rent rather than own your apartment, the next step is to contact your landlord. Your landlord is responsible for protecting the property from damage, including flood damage, so you’ll want to notify them of the issue as soon as possible.
Most likely, the landlord will send out maintenance workers to address the source of the flooding quickly. Even if they can’t start repairs immediately, though, it’s still a good idea to get in contact with your landlord right after you first notice the flooding.
4: Reach out to Your Neighbors
If you have downstairs neighbors, the considerate thing to do when your apartment floods is to notify them about the flooding in your apartment.
Depending on the severity of the flooding, water could very easily leak into their apartment from the ceiling. Giving them a heads up will spare them that unpleasant surprise and give them a chance to take some precautions.
5: Secure Your Belongings
You probably won’t be able to protect all of your belongings from water damage if your apartment floods. Still, you should move whatever you can out of the flooded area to keep those items from being ruined. You can put them in a room far away from the flooding or just put them up high where the water isn’t likely to reach.
If you have to leave your home because of the flooding, it’s a good idea to take as many of your valuables as possible.
6: Document the Damage Caused by the Flooding
It may not be the first thing on your mind, but documenting everything that happens when your apartment floods is important. Your landlord, the maintenance company, and/or your insurance company may need the documentation later.
Go around your apartment, taking photos of all the damage. Check areas such as your carpet for flood damage and write down the day and time that the damage occurred. Even small details that may not seem important now could be relevant later.
Unfortunately, the whole picture of the flood damage may not be apparent right now but document what you can.
7: Contact Your Insurance Company
If you’re a renter, then you should have renters insurance. Your landlord is responsible for handling the costs associated with repairing the building but your renters insurance policy likely covers the damage to your personal belongings.
Keep in mind, though, that damage caused by certain kinds of flooding usually isn’t covered by renters insurance. For example, when your apartment floods because of a hurricane, the damage will probably not be covered by renters insurance unless you have a specific flood endorsement.
8: Coordinate Repairs
Your landlord will be the one scheduling and paying for the repairs when your apartment floods so reach out to coordinate the repairs process. You should know when the maintenance and repairs will happen and what to expect during the process.
If your apartment needs a professional cleaning after the repairs are done, you can discuss who will pay for that service with your landlord.
How to Prevent Flooding in an Apartment
If you currently have flooding in your apartment or have dealt with a flooded apartment in the past, it’s fair to say that you never want to have that problem again. Here are some things you can do to prevent future flooding in an apartment:
- Monitor your appliances– Appliances like refrigerators or dishwashers can cause flooding when they have leaky hoses. Keep an eye out for any problems so you can catch them before there’s apartment flooding.
- Remember to turn off showers and sinks– It sounds simple but an incredible number of apartment floods are caused by forgetful people leaving on showers and sinks when they’re not in use. Turn them off whenever you’re not using them.
- Stay up to date on maintenance– If you’re a renter, then most maintenance is your landlord’s responsibility but keeping up with whatever maintenance you can will help prevent floods in the future.
How to Clean up a Flooded Apartment
Cleaning up a flooded apartment is no easy task but it’s important to get started as soon as possible to prevent further damage. Below are some quick tips to get started cleaning after your apartment floods.
- Start by removing all the water you can- Use buckets, mops, and towels to remove as much water as possible. The more water you can remove, the less there is to worry about mold and mildew.
- Throw out anything that can’t be saved: Unfortunately, most of the time when carpets and rugs that have been soaked through should be thrown away. However, if you’re sure the carpet or rug has not come into contact with sewage water and has only been wet for less than 24 hours, it may still be salvaged. To clean rugs outside, hose them down, dry them out, and disinfect them with a disinfectant solution. Carpets in your home should be professionally cleaned.
- Clean and disinfect all surfaces: All surfaces in the flooded area should be cleaned and disinfected, including walls, floors, cabinets, and countertops.
My Upstairs Neighbor Flooded my Apartment, What do I do?
If your upstairs neighbor floods your apartment it can be frustrating. Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to mitigate the damage and protect yourself from extra costs.
First, make sure you document all damage. This includes pictures and recording videos that show the water coming from above. This will be helpful with filing a claim with your insurance.
After that, save all that you can. Minimize the damage by removing items that are susceptible to water out of harms way.
Once you’ve done that, contact your landlord and insurance provider. Since the landlord owns the apartment, they need to be informed of the water damage to the living place that you are experiencing. The sooner you reach out to your insurance company as well, the sooner they can send someone to evaluate the damage that has taken place in your apartment.
Dealing with Water Damage After Apartment Floods
You don’t have to deal with a flooded apartment alone. Jenkins Restorations can help you address water damage in your home to restore your property and restore your life.