As a Landlord, you quickly find that you wear many hats. From Property Manager, to Accounts Receivable and Billing, to Maintenance, your time is likely pulled in many directions. While many projects are certainly within your capability, it's important to recognize that things such as Water Damage, Mold Contamination, Asbestos, or Radon, require the expertise of a professional Mitigation and Remediation Company to address properly. The proper Mitigation and Remediation Company is able to resolve issues that you may be unable to adequately address, while allowing you to perform work you are able to do, such as Repairs yourself (If you wish).
What should I do to prepare for a claim?
In order to prepare for a claim, you have to first understand What you can expect from the claims process, and What you should do if you have a claim. The first step when addressing any property damage should be to limit the extent and prevent further damage where possible. As a result, it is important to ensure that, should a claim occur at your rental property, you will have access and will be able to get emergency crews in to begin the necessary loss mitigation immediately.
• Tenant Agreements should include a requirement that the tenant allow access to Contractors and Mitigation Professionals in the event that damage to the property occurs, and in the case of emergency damage requiring Water Mitigation, Boardup, Fire, or Mold Remediation, that they make arrangements to allow crews access to the property as soon as possible.
• It is important to understand that not all Insurance Policies are the same. In the case of policies covering rental properties, some Insurance Companies require notice if a property is unoccupied for a length of time, or additional endorsements for unoccupied property coverage. Take the time to speak with your Insurance Agent to address any coverage issues that may occur.
• Generally, there will be no coverage for your tenant's personal property within your property's insurance policy. As such, it should be recommended to tenants that they purchase separate Tenant / Personal Articles Policies to cover any loss they may incur. The cost for these policies is relatively low, and most Insurance Agents would be able to assist them with this. When a claim occurs, the tenant should be reminded of this and instructed to address their personal property themselves. The same Mitigation Company addressing your rental property should also be able to assist your tenants with their personal property should they wish them to.
What should I do in the event of damage to my property?
In the event of a claim such as Water Damage or Mold Contamination, it's important to understand that time is of the essence. Failure to address the issue properly and quickly can result in significantly more damage and possible coverage issues. Unlike a regular homeowner claim, in the case of a claim at a rental unit, there is considerably more that logistically needs to be arranged. In order to ensure that prompt response is possible, the tenant should be contacted and arrangements should be made for the emergency mitigation contractor to get into the property.
• If not already aware, the tenant should be notified of the damage and advised that you will need access to the property. While you will need to meet with the Mitigation Company initially to complete paperwork authorizing the work, you should find out from the tenant whether they will be there to allow you and the Mitigation Company into the property, or if you will need to allow access yourself. As the Mitigation Staff will need to have access to all areas that are or may be damaged, the tenant should make sure that all areas are accessible and doors are unlocked. In the past we have seen situations where rooms that were affected were inaccessible to crews, as the landlord did not have access. Mitigation Crews should have access to and be able to check all rooms in order to ensure that all affected areas have been addressed.
• Should the damage present a danger to the tenant's safety, alternate living arrangements should be arranged. A professional Mitigation and Remediation Company should be able to address these safety concerns first (when possible) in order to limit the time in which the tenant will be out of their apartment.
• As there will be no coverage under your rental property policy for their personal property / contents, they should be advised to begin going through anything that is affected in an effort to salvage as much as possible. In cases where rooms are overly filled with content, they should begin moving this content out of these areas so that Mitigation Technicians are able to perform any necessary work in those rooms. If the tenant has Renters Insurance, they should contact their Insurance Company to advise that they have suffered a claim. Any content that has been damaged and is not salvageable should be documented with photographs and listed, as their Insurance Company will likely require this information.
• When looking for a Mitigation and Remediation Company, look for a Truly Local Company able to handle your needs.
• A Mitigation Contractor should hold licenses in and be able to handle complications that may occur such as the discovery of Asbestos containing materials that have been affected by the water damage at the property. The discovery of Asbestos by a non-licensed company can greatly complicate the drying process, extending drying time and possibly causing additional damage and health hazards for your tenants.
• The Mitigation and Remediation Company will place equipment in order to facilitate drying of the property. This equipment must be left on and in place throughout the drying process. While we understand this can be an inconvenience, your tenant should understand the importance of this and be advised to leave equipment on and in place. The Mitigation Company will periodically check on drying and remove equipment as it becomes unnecessary. Similarly, any areas of the apartment that have been "closed off" due to Mold, Asbestos, etc. should not be entered until deemed safe by the Mitigation and Remediation Company.
• Once the necessary mitigation is complete and the initial issue is rectified, you may begin the repairs. You may elect to perform the repairs yourself, in which case, you want to make sure that you are able to complete these repairs in as timely a manner as possible so that your tenant can return to life as usual. You also have the option of hiring a contractor or your Mitigation and Restoration Company to perform these repairs as well.
Should you have any questions or suffer a claim at your rental property, please don't hesitate to Contact Our Offices! We recognize the importance of getting your claim handled as quickly as possible so that you and your tenant's are able to return to life as usual…
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