Reminder — what to do if a storm hits

A freak storm doesn’t happen that often, but it can take weeks to recover from one. With winter’s wild weather well and truly here, we thought we’d remind you what your responsibilities as a property owner would be if a storm causes damage to your property.

  • If a property is damaged to the point that it is unlivable, a tenancy can be ended. This can be carried out by either the tenant or landlord, but must be done legally (i.e. by completing a notice of intention to immediately end the lease).
  • It’s within your tenant’s rights to negotiate a rent reduction when the premise has been partly damaged in a natural disaster. Both parties must negotiate the exact details.
  • It’s important to quickly establish what damage has been caused by the natural disaster. Liaise with your tenants (through your property manager) to make a list of areas that have been affected.
  • Any damage to the property must be promptly taken care of. Life-threatening damage should be fixed immediately, while less serious damage needs to be fixed within 14 days.
  • One of the most important things you need to do is check your insurance coverage. It’s vitally important that anyone who owns a property knows, and fully understands, the details of their policy. Recent reports have shown that many insurance policies don’t cover flooding as standard, yet they will cover water damage caused by storms. The terminology used can be tricky, so it’s best to get some clarification about what is and isn’t covered.