From leaky plumbing to poorly sealed windows, water damage can quickly diminish the value of your rental properties and pose health hazards to your tenants. Even minor damage can result in expensive property damage restoration. Your properties are sound investments and mitigating water damage goes a long way toward maintaining the wellbeing of your property, business, and tenants.
The consequences of water damage are varied and can include:
- Mold growth and damage: Depending on the location of the water damage, mold may go unnoticed until it causes the need for significant property damage restoration. In addition to compromising the structural integrity of your building, mold lowers the quality of indoor air and may pose serious health risks to tenants.
- Foundation damage: If downspouts or the landscape’s gradient don’t divert water away from a building, the excess moisture can flood basements or permeate the foundation.
- Roof damage: Moss and debris on a roof, as well as clogged gutters, can cause water to pool or linger for prolonged periods, which may ruin shingles and promote the growth of mildew.
- Damage to building materials: Excess moisture causes metals to corrode and other materials to rot or deteriorate. When this occurs, the building becomes more vulnerable to moisture intrusion.
- Property losses: Incidents like leaky pipes or flooding may result in property losses. In addition to compromising tenant property, water damage can destroy items like carpeting or appliances that you may have provided.
Implementing a Disaster Preparedness Plan to Prevent Water Damage
If you have a disaster preparedness plan for your commercial properties, ensure that it includes components that will help prevent water damage and the need for extensive property damage restoration. Elements to consider adding to a preparedness plan include:
- Regular Property Maintenance and Inspections: Tenants may not notice or tell you about water damage right away. Routine maintenance and regular inspections of the interior and exterior of the properties will help allow you to remedy water intrusions before they cause extensive damage.
- Areas to inspect include:
- Exhaust fans in kitchens and bathrooms to ensure that they work
- Window frames and windows for condensation and water intrusion
- Ceilings and walls for water stains
- Expansion joints
- Sealants and flashing
- Gutters and downspouts
- Kitchen and bathroom sink cabinets
- Walls and flooring around appliances such as water heaters, dishwashers, laundry machines, and HVAC units
- HVAC drain lines and drip trays
- Crawlspaces and basements
- Tenant Education: When you acquire new tenants, provide them with information about:
- The signs of water damage
- Water damage prevention tips
- What to do when they notice water damage
- How to care for their property when there is a flood warning or water damage occurs
- Inspection and maintenance dates
- Specifics about how the property management can help
- Business Continuity: In your disaster preparedness plan, outline how you plan to resume operations if your building experiences water damage. Factors to consider include:
- Ensuring your commercial insurance policy covers the types of water damage that may occur
- Vendors that can assist with the restoration process
- Moving tenants back into the building or finding new tenants
Property Damage Restoration Tips for Water Damage
- Document the damage: When you notice water damage, take pictures and document what you notice immediately, especially if the damage affects a tenant’s property. Thorough documentation will help you receive the maximum settlement to which you are entitled if you need to file a claim.
- Help tenants: Depending on the situation, you may need to help affected tenants secure their property and evacuate the building.
- Immediate property damage restoration: The extent of water damage isn’t always visible, so it’s vital to investigate its extent with the help of a professional. A reputable restoration company can help with the inspection process, as well as make complete repairs and use special drying techniques that offer long-term solutions.
Water damage prevention and business continuity are important factors to add to your organization’s disaster preparedness plan. If you’re not sure about how to implement these elements into your own plan, Polygon can help. When you work with Polygon, an expert will help you create a preparedness and recovery plan that includes water damage-related considerations. Plus, if you register for the Code Blue® service, you’ll receive priority attention if one of your properties experiences water damage or a different type of disaster.
Water damage can go undetected for a long time, but it’s important to catch any moisture before it has the potential to cause further damage. With regular inspections, routine maintenance, and a disaster plan, you’ll take strides in preventing water damage and remedying its destructive effects.
Photo by William Murphy via CC license