Thursday, August 26, 2010

RePost: Decherd's Water Damage Guide

This is a clear article on some important ways to deal with water damage in the multi-family housing industry. Mark Decherd offers some fundamental instructions and pieces of information that should be communicated to all tenants. He states, "Make it as easy on your tenants as possible by clearly communicating what you expect when water issues arise."

Web-based productivity tools like go one step further to make it easy to follow Decherd's guide, utilizing solutions like the BuildingLink online document library and emergency broadcast features.

Water Damage & Your Rental Property

Being a landlord has its advantages and disadvantages. When it comes to water damage and rental property one of the major disadvantages is that you are at the mercy of your tenants and their responsiveness (or lack of responsiveness) to the problem. After all, if the tenant doesn't act promptly or notify you of a leak, water damage can go from bad to worse and you won't know about the problem until it's too late.

Fortunately, most tenants don't ignore major water leaks, burst pipes, and overflows. However, some may not want to bother you with minor plumbing issues. For example, if a toilet overflows, the tenant may plunge the toilet, mop up the water, and leave it at that. But what if the bathroom is carpeted and the water not fully mopped up? Soon, the carpet begins to stink and mold begins to grow. Suddenly, you have a larger problem on your hands than a simple overflow and you are now faced with replacing carpets and mold remediation costs.

Because of the potential for escalating damages from water, it's important that your tenants feel that they can contact you about any mishap. Let your tenants know that care about the condition of your property and want to know about water and plumbing issues. Accessibility and open communications are a must. Not only will you be more likely to learn about water problems before damage becomes worse, you may also find that your tenants are more responsive, proactive, and responsible when they see how much you care.

Make it as easy on your tenants as possible by clearly communicating what you expect when water issues arise. Create an instruction sheet specifically addressing water issues. Let your tenants know which issues you need to be informed of such as: musty odors, leaks, overflows, condensation, burst pipes, standing water, mold, and so on.

In addition, you might want to create a water damage checklist and enclose it with your monthly rent statement. This checklist can contain action items or reminders. For example, your checklist might be broken down into areas of the house such as the kitchen, bathrooms, laundry room, basement, windows, and other common areas where water damage or mold may be present.

Area - Musty Smell? - Signs of Water Damage? If yes, describe:

Kitchen Yes______ No_______ Yes______ No______

Bathroom Yes______ No_______ Yes______ No______

Laundry Yes______ No_______ Yes______ No______

Garage Yes______ No_______ Yes______ No______

Regularly sending your water damage signs checklist to your tenants helps to keep water damage and its potential at the top of their minds. For instance, a tenant may have noticed a slightly musty odor in the basement and then promptly forgot about. By reminding your tenants, you may find out about a treatable problem before it has a chance to fester into a monster.

In addition to providing tenants with instructions and checklists, make sure that your tenants know how to reach you at all times. Include your cell phone number, pager number, email address and other ways you can be reached. Let tenants know the best way to reach you in an emergency and consider including the phone numbers to your preferred plumbers and water damage response companies.

By: Mr. Mark Decherd

For more information and other articles by Mark Decherd go to:

Dryout® Inc. 1415 Colonial Blvd. Fort Myers, Fl. 33907 239-437-7100

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