Dealing with a flood
If your home is flooded, you should take the following steps as soon as possible:
- If you live in rented accommodation, contact your landlord and report the flood. They may be able to arrange repairs or provide alternative accommodation.
- Contact your insurance company if you have contents insurance. They may be able to cover the cost of replacing damaged items or pay for temporary accommodation.
- See what help is available from wider services at Somerset Council and ask for help. They may be able to provide information and advice on Council Tax relief, cleaning up and preventing further damage.
- Contact your utility suppliers and tell them about the flood. They may need to check your gas, electricity and water supply for safety reasons.
- Keep a record of the flood, including photos, receipts, and correspondence with your landlord, insurance company or council. This may help you with any claims or complaints later on.
Your rights and responsibilities as a tenant
If your home is flooded, you have the right to:
- Live in a home that is safe and in a good state of repair
- Ask your landlord to carry out repairs or improvements to prevent or reduce the risk of flooding
- Claim compensation from your landlord if they are responsible for the flood or fail to fix the problem
- End your tenancy early if the flood makes your home uninhabitable or unsuitable for your needs
You also have the responsibility to:
- Pay your rent as usual, unless you agree otherwise with your landlord
- Take reasonable steps to protect your home and belongings from further damage
- Cooperate with your landlord, insurance company and Somerset Council in dealing with the flood and its aftermath
Your landlord's rights and responsibilities
If your home is flooded, your landlord has the right to:
- Access your home to inspect the damage and carry out repairs, with reasonable notice
- End your tenancy if the flood makes your home uninhabitable or beyond repair
- Claim compensation from you if you are responsible for the flood or fail to report it
They also have the responsibility to:
- Repair any damage to the structure and exterior of your home, such as walls, roof, windows and doors
- Repair any damage to the plumbing, heating, gas, electricity and water supply systems
- Repair any damage to the fixtures and fittings, such as carpets, curtains and appliances, that they provided
Private landlords are not usually responsible for finding you somewhere else if you have to move out due to a flood. However, they may have an insurance policy that pays for alternative accommodation for tenants. Contact your landlord to ask.
If you rent from the council or a housing association, they should provide temporary accommodation if you have to move out.
Temporary and permanent accommodation
If your home is flooded and you cannot stay there, you may need to find temporary or permanent accommodation elsewhere. You may be able to get help from your landlord, your insurance company or Somerset Council, depending on your situation.
Your landlord may be able to provide you with alternative accommodation while your home is being repaired. This should be similar to your original home in terms of size, location and affordability. You should not have to pay extra rent or bills for the alternative accommodation. You should also be able to return to your original home once it is fixed, unless your tenancy has ended.
Your insurance company may be able to pay for temporary accommodation while your home is being repaired. This may be a hotel, a bed and breakfast, or a rented property. You should check your policy and contact your insurance company to find out what they can offer and for how long. You should also keep a record of your expenses and receipts for the temporary accommodation.
You may be able to stay with friends and family while your home is being repaired.
Where the above options have been exhausted, Somerset Council may be able to help you find temporary or permanent accommodation if you are homeless or threatened with homelessness because of the flood. They will assess your situation and decide what duty they have to help you. They may provide you with emergency accommodation, such as a hostel, a bed and breakfast, or a council property. They may also help you find a longer-term solution, such as a private rented property, a social rented property, or a housing association property. You may have to pay rent or a contribution for the accommodation they provide.
Landlord insurance help
If you have contents insurance, you may be able to claim for the cost of replacing or repairing your damaged belongings. You should contact your insurance company as soon as possible and follow their instructions. You may need to provide evidence of the flood, such as photos, receipts, and a report from your landlord. You should also keep a record of your communication with your insurance company and any payments they make to you.
If you do not have contents insurance, you may still be able to claim compensation from your landlord if they are responsible for the flood or fail to fix the problem. You will need to prove that your landlord was negligent or breached their contract, and that you suffered a loss or inconvenience as a result. You should write to your landlord and explain what happened, what you want them to do, and how much compensation you are claiming. You should also keep a record of your communication with your landlord and any payments they make to you.
If you are not satisfied with your landlord’s response, you may be able to take legal action against them. You should seek legal advice before doing so, as this can be costly and time-consuming. You may be able to get free or low-cost legal help from a local advice centre, such as Citizens Advice or Shelter.
Homeowners insurance help
If you own your home, you are usually responsible for repairs due to flood damage.
Check if your insurance policies cover you for:
- the costs of repairs if your home is flooded
- the replacement of your belongings
- other accommodation if you can’t return to your home
- legal cover and legal advice
Find out more from Money Helper about flood insurance.
If you own a leasehold flat or house, check if your freeholder’s insurance covers any of the repair costs. Buildings insurance should cover flood risks.
How the Housing Options team can help
We can help you find a home if your home is flooded and you are homeless or threatened with homelessness.
- give you advice on how to deal with the flood and its consequences
- visit you at your property with your landlord and agree timeframes for getting you back into your home
- refer you to local agencies to help you claim compensation or benefits
- help you find temporary or permanent accommodation