Protecting your property from flooding

Flooding is growing problem in many parts of the UK. Heavy storms, torrential rain, overflowing rivers and tidal surges, all wreak havoc on the landscape, leaving people temporarily homeless. So what steps can landlords with properties in flood-prone areas take to protect their homes? Here’s what to do if you think your rental property is at risk of flooding. A few steps taken before a flood happens could help to minimise the damage caused.


Flood resistant measures

By taking preventative action, you can reduce the risk of watering entering your home. Generally, pre-emptive measures are cheaper than the cost of repairing a damaged property. So it's a wise to consider making these alterations if you live in an area prone to flooding.

  1. Lay ceramic tiles on the ground floor.
  2. Raise the electrical wiring and sockets to at least 1.5 metres above ground level.
  3. Raise all electrical appliances up on plinths or wall-mount them where possible.
  4. Use water resistant lime plaster instead of gypsum plaster in the walls.
  5. Don't use chipboard or MDF in homes. Instead opt for stainless steel or solid wood. Also install free standing units that can be removed if necessary.
  6. On the ground floor, install rugs on ceramic tiles rather than carpet.
  7. Install non-return values into drains, so that water can only flow in one direction. This will  help to prevent drainage and sewage back-wash during flooding.



Flood resilience measures

Resilience measures are those that help to stem the tide and minimise damage. Here are some ways to do this:


  1. Sandbags: These can be effective at stopping a groundwater from entering.
  2. Flood proof doors and windows: with purpose built flood boards that can be fitted when floods are expected. Also apply water-proofing sealant to the exterior walls.
  3. Damp-proof membranes: Replace wooden floors with concrete and a damp-proof membrane.
  4. Free-standing flood barriers: These minimise damage, although remember that water can still get in via the drainage system.
  5. Water pumps and back-up generators: This will pump the flood water out of the property for days, weeks and even months. It's also important to have a back-up generator in the likely event of power failure during the flood.



If flooding is likely to happen, the first step is get your tenants out of the property to safety. Next, move electrical appliances and anything portable, to higher ground, including your car! Keep your landlord insurance policy documents to hand, so that you can call your insurance company as soon as flooding happens.

If your property is damaged, it can be tempting to try and save its contents. But it’s safer to leave well alone as flood water may be contaminated. Speak with your insurance company as soon as you can, following a flood. A loss adjuster will visit you to assess the damage and recommend a schedule of repairs, so that your tenants can be back in their home as soon as possible.

For more information about flooding and for up-to-date flood alerts, refer to the Environment Agency's flood warning advice.