Even in the warm, dry climate of Phoenix, Arizona, apartment flooding is a possibility. Floods are highly damaging and more than just a mild inconvenience. As a renter, you need to be prepared for possible emergencies when renting an apartment in Phoenix.
Keep the following tips in mind and you will be prepared in case of a flood.
Know Your Flood Risks
The best way to prevent any bad situation from being chaotic is to be prepared. Flooded apartments can be a hassle to deal with, but with the right information they can be handled so that you bear less of a burden. Before a flood even occurs, brush up on key facts to better manage the situation:
- If flooding occurs during heavy rains, know what time of the year you’re likely to experience these heavy rains and know the best precautions to take. Local agencies often provide maps of flooding areas and estimates of how much rainfall can lead to flooding. Use that as your guide to know when you can expect water levels to become problematic and start moving, piling or properly storing your items before then to prevent them from being damaged.
- Find out if the apartments are prone to particular types of leaks and what’s the quickest way to have them handled. In case of emergencies, some properties allow for you to bring in your own repairman to fix the leak and will reimburse you. Make sure to ask management if that is an option. It’s also important to know where the different shut-off valves are located in the apartment as well as the main shut-off valve for the apartment.
- Most importantly, have a plan in case your apartment does flood. Have a spot such as a closet or a kitchen shelf ready to place electronics, important paperwork and valuables to avoid water damage. Consider having a waterproof safety box for your documents and small valuables. Disconnect major appliances if water begins to rise significantly; if possible, shut off electricity to prevent electric currents from reaching the water.
First and foremost you have to be prepared in case of an emergency. Renter’s insurance protects you from a wide variety of unplanned events such as theft, floods, and fires. While not legally required like other types of insurance, renter’s insurance is a good idea because it allows you to receive monetary value for your possessions in case of damage or loss.
The Landlord’s Responsibilities
Your landlord is responsible for building and apartment repairs that are needed because of flooding. This includes structural repairs, carpet cleaning/replacement, walls, doors, and so on. Legally, a rented property has to be livable and meet all local housing laws concerning a residence.
Note that in the case of a flood, your landlord is not responsible for your personal property only the rental property itself. Also note that you should not try to make repairs after a flood as responsibility for this belongs to your landlord and doing so could make you legally responsible for the work done.
Your Legal Rights
As a renter your rights are as follows:
- You have a right to negotiate. For example, while not legally required if your apartment is unlivable due to a flood, you can request that you be moved to another apartment during repairs or that your landlord cover hotel expenses.
- Your landlord cannot evict you from the property unless the apartment is completely destroyed and beyond repair or if your lease has a special eviction clause for partial damage.
- If your apartment is severely damaged, you have a right to cancel your lease. Note that the damage has to be extreme and require extensive repair to qualify. When trying to void your lease, collect relevant data and be prepared to consult a lawyer if need arises.
- Rent is not due for a flood damaged apartment that has become uninhabitable due to damage. If a landlord still insists on rent, notate every transaction (transportation, hotel costs, rent, and so on) and you may sue in small claims court to recover these expenses. Make any requests in writing.
- In cases where a flood doesn’t outright destroy a property but causes damage to make it unlivable, for example no running water, then you may legally request a reduction in your rent.
- If a landlord is negligent in repairing a reported issue and this directly leads to flooding, they can be held liable. For this to apply, a landlord has to be made aware there is a needed repair. Be sure to report and record any repair requests.
- Understand that the reverse is also true. If you are responsible for your apartment being flooded, then the landlord has the right to sue you for damages. This includes purposeful damage or negligence.
One of the best ways to avoid complications from flooding damage is to rent property from professional companies with a good reputation. A well-run property management company will not only maintain properties to prevent damage but also make the needed repairs should flood damage occur.
When you are looking for apartment homes in the Phoenix metro area, consider Heers Management. With over two decades of experience, you can rest assured your apartment will be maintained by experts who care about their residents.