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Steps for Landlords to Take When Severe Weather Damages Your Rental Property

17 December 2022

As a landlord, it's important to be prepared for the unexpected. Severe weather can cause significant damage to your rental property, and it's important to have a plan in place to respond to any damage. In this post, we'll cover the steps that landlords should take if their rental is damaged in severe weather, including contacting their insurance company, making temporary repairs, and working with tenants to repair the damage.

Be prepared

Before severe weather strikes, ensure that your rental property is in good repair and that any potential hazards, such as leaky roofs or damaged windows, are repaired before severe weather hits. Completing timely property inspections, regular maintenance and talking to your tenants all help to identify anything that requires urgent attention.

Respond propmtly

If a wild weather event occurs, e.g. flooding, it's important to take immediate action to minimise the impact of the damage.

  • Contact your tenants to ensure everyone is safe and discuss any damage identified.

  • Discuss with tenants any necessary temporary repairs to secure the property and prevent further damage. For example, if a tree has fallen on the roof, you may need to cover the hole with a tarp to prevent further water damage.

  • Contact your insurance company to discuss your policy and make a claim to cover the cost of any repairs. Be sure to document the damage with photos and a written description of the extent of the damage.

It's important to review your landlord insurance policy carefully to understand what is and is not covered. For example, some policies may have exclusions for certain types of damage, such as flood damage, which may require a separate policy.

Interested to know how your cover compares against others?

  • Organise repairs and keep your tenants informed. Work with your tenants to repair any damage caused by the severe weather. This may involve coordinating with contractors or other repair professionals to get the work done.

Remember to give 24 hours notice if you or the workman want to go inside to inspect the work.

If the damage is severe and the rental is uninhabitable, you may need to discuss temporary relocation arrangements with your tenants.

What are landlords responsible for?

Landlords are responsible for maintaining the property in a reasonable condition. This includes paying for any damages caused by a natural disaster. For example, in the case of flooding, the landlord is responsible for drying the property if it has water damage and paying the tenants for any electricity charges incurred.

If the property is seriously damaged, and part of the property can't be used, a landlord should consider a rent reduction to compensate the tenant accordingly. In some cases agreeing to end the tenancy early might be the best outcome for both.

The tenant and the landlord can apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to terminate the tenancy early if the property is uninhabitable.

If the damage is severe and the rental is uninhabitable, you may need to discuss temporary relocation arrangements with your tenants. Let your tenant know how long the repairs are expected to take and when they can move back in. Although you don't have to provide somewhere for them to stay, you can help them find another property to move into. Remember to record any agreements you make in writing.

By working closely with your tenants and taking these steps, landlords can help ensure that the repair process goes smoothly and that any damage caused by severe weather is repaired as quickly as possible.

Here are some useful links and guides from our friends at Initio insurance:

FAQ's about Storm Damage
General information on Natural Disaster cover
Tips to Insuring in a Flood Zone

Wild weather can cause significant damage to rental properties, but by taking the right steps, landlords can minimise the impact of the damage and get things back to normal as quickly as possible.

We recommend you always seek independent tax advice regarding financial matters. The information contained in this article is exclusively for promotional purposes. It does not in any way constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as the basis for any legal action or contractual dealings. The information is not, and does not attempt to be, a comprehensive account of the relevant law in New Zealand. If you require legal advice you should seek independent legal counsel. does not accept any liability that may arise from the use of this information.

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What the community has to say
  • AH

    Great article, thank you. Can you extend the information in regards to if rent needs to be paid while house is uninhabitable? How is uninhabitable defined does it link to HH definitions? How does rent work, and potential compensation work in these situations?

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