House Flooding responsibilities

7 Replies

I purchased a new home recently in Baltimore and placed a tenant. There was a huge storm yesterday and the entire basement and main floor are flooded because the house doesn't have a sub pump. We brought a plumber to deal with the issue of water getting in, but they cannot fix the issue until Tuesday, as I landlords what other steps can I take to keep the tenant and the house safe.

Thanks in advance.

Call your insurance company and disaster recovery companies.  They will probably be overwhelmed right now.  Go to your local big box store and buy/rent a pump to clear the basement when the house is no longer underwater.  I don't think you need a plumber as I think of plumbers as fixing broken pipes, not rivers.  A plumber could be a good alternative if you can't get help elsewhere.

Your tenants might get help if they have renters insurance.  Your insurance might guarantee rent in which case you might be able to put your tenants up somewhere.  That will build a lot of goodwill.  Check your policy.  You probably want to help you tenants get out of there until the damage is repaired.

You will have a large clean-up job.  Best of luck.  Our prayers are with you.

@Daniel Suarez   There's a very real danger of electrocution in that water, so be sure that the power to the house is shut off before you go diving in.  

Work with emergency services to be sure it's safe to go in to start pumping it out.

@Daniel Suarez that is a great tip from @Charlie MacPherson .  Instruct the tenant to stay out of the water until emergency services can visit the house and ensure the power is off in the flooded areas.  Once they say it's safe to go in the water, disconnect the power to the water heater and HVAC equipment.  You have a better chance of preserving these appliances if they don't operate while submerged.  

After you get all the water out of the house, your top priority will be drying everything out quickly.  Household dehumidifiers will likely be insufficient for this -- you'll need commercial grade equipment.

To prevent a repeat problem in the future:  I live here in Baltimore and based on what I saw yesterday, I don't think a sump pump will prevent this from happening again.  We took on too much water too fast for a sump pump to get rid of it.  I would look at ways to move rainwater away from the foundation so it doesn't enter the house in the first place.

Thanks so much for your help everyone, that's exactly what I was looking, seems like the severity of the flood is not as bad as I think. Unfortunately, I'm outside of the country and I'm basing all on what the tenant says.