When the mercury bottoms out, a lot of apartment tenants find themselves unexpectedly dealing with flooded apartments because of burst pipes. Sadly, though, flooding can happen anytime from causes as diverse as clumsy plumbers, old pipes, hurricanes, leaky roofs, broken sink disposals, faulty washing machines, horseplay, or the ever-unpleasant blocked toilet. Flooded floors lead to rot, structural damage, insect infestations, safety hazards, damaged carpets, destroyed possessions, and possibly dangerous mold growth. What do you do when your apartment is flooded?
Stop the Cause of the Flooding
Your first action should be to stem the flow of the incoming water. If it’s a toilet or faucet, look for a valve at the floor or wall near the offending fixture. Otherwise, you may have to stop the flooding at the main valve that controls water flow to your apartment. If you don’t know where the master water valve is, ask your apartment manager or a neighbor.
Flood the Problem with Help
Get on the horn and call for flood assistance – from apartment maintenance, roommates, and friends. Get electrical devices and valuable items out of flooding danger. Management can be helpful with skilled personnel, flood remediation services, fans, and wet vacs. If you have renters insurance, now would be a good time to contact their claims department to see if they can help with replacing your damaged possessions.
Dry everything out and document the problem with photos and notes. Make sure you have records that show that you told management about the extent of the problem in a timely manner. Use fans to get the moisture and smell out of your flooded apartment. If the weather permits, sun your damp furniture until it dries. If you can, run a dehumidifier in the wet areas with the windows and doors closed.
Reconstruct the Cause of Your Flooded Apartment
It should be pretty obvious what caused the flooding. If you can’t tell, apartment management or maintenance should be able to tell you when they address the problem. In any case, if the flooding wasn’t your fault, your apartment management may choose to help you pick up the pieces. If the problem looks like a rain or drainage problem that might happen again, consider asking for a different apartment in your complex, or find an apartment that won’t plague you with flooding again.
Having your apartment flooded is no picnic, but if you act fast and are prepared for the possibility, you’ll keep the disturbance to a minimum. Stay dry!
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