The Seattle area is uniquely prone to flooding, with riverine, coastal, and urban flooding hazards. While Bellevue features a number of storm drains to help reduce the problem, it is important to consider the potential damage, reduce it as much as possible, and make sure that your insurance covers flood damage. The following include tips from Bellevue property management professionals on preparing your investment property for floods and flood damage.
Make Sure You Have Insurance
As a landlord, you need home insurance, and you should have flood insurance. If you are in a high risk zone, you will pay more for your insurance, but when the homes flood, it will be well worth the extra money. You can check King County’s Index Map to see Flood Insurance rates by area. You can also see the map to check if your investment property is in a high risk zone. Because most insurance does not cause water damage not caused by an overflowing sink or toilet, you do have to add it on to most policies. If you have an elevation certificate, you can get lower rates than if you don’t have one.
Inform Your Tenants
Another thing to keep in mind is that informed tenants can help prevent some damage to the property. For example, they can call the emergency flood risk number if the home is about to flood, or call for water drainage as quickly as possible. Make sure you hand out emergency numbers to your tenants.
Risk of Flood Number: 425-452-7840
It is also important that they know safety precautions, like using flashlights after a flood in case of a gas leak, and turning off the circuit breaker. Training them to turn off breakers, gas lines, water lines, and other utilities before exiting a flooding home can also reduce potential hazards on returning.
Prepare Your Home
If you have a basement or lower area of the home, then it is important to have a sump pump to help with drainage. If the property is lower, in a flood plain, or not elevated, then it may still be important to have a sump pump. Make sure that you keep it serviced and ensure that it stays in working condition.
Keep Up With Maintenance
Maintenance is important for reducing damage in case of a flood, and may prevent a home from flooding in the first place. You do want to hire someone to clean the gutters two to three times a year, usually just before spring and just before autumn. Making sure that local drainage ditches are clear, not full of debris or trash, and that water runs away from the house is also a good idea.
Preparing for floods and paying for flood insurance may seem like a waste of time, but most of Bellevue is in a high-risk flood area. If you need help, Bellevue Property Management can handle all of the maintenance, preparation, and even tenant awareness, so that all you have to do is worry about insurance. If there is a flood, they also handle emergency calls, cleanup, and repairs.
The discussion herein is of a general nature only and is not to be construed as specific legal advice, which requires the establishment of an attorney-client relationship and fee agreement. SJA Property Management does not provide legal services.