Major Flooding: How to Prepare Your Airbnb Rental
Like any property, Airbnbs are susceptible to natural disasters. This can include major flooding. Flooding can lead to cancelled bookings. It could also mean requests for refunds and lost revenue for hosts. Not to mention the severe damage they cause. Even an inch of floodwater can lead to significant damage.
Nothing can prevent natural disasters. But there are ways you can safeguard your Airbnb business against flooding. Read on to learn how you can prepare your properties.
Check the Risk of Flooding in Your Home
The first step is to assess the risk of flooding at the home or property. The FEMA Flood Map Service will show you the general flood risk of your region.
Insure Your Property Against Floods
Most standard homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover flooding. You will need to purchase separate flood insurance . This may be through either the National Flood Insurance Program or as an extra policy. If you live on the coast or a high flood zone you may need to get insurance if you want to get financing. Even property owners in mild risk flood zones should consider flood insurance.
Floodproof the Property
You should floodproof well before an emergency is imminent. The level of floodproofing you need depends on your property. ‘Floodproofing’ may be general maintenance or could require costly renovations. Expensive floodproofing may include extreme measures. This could include raising your house on stilts above flood level. Some other floodproofing options include:
- Raise your home
- Install foundation vents
- Apply coatings and sealants
- Raise electrical outlets and switches
- Install check valves on pipes
- Slope your lawn away from the house
- Point downspouts away from your home
Prepare for an Imminent Emergency
If flooding is imminent or has even begun, there are several last-minute measures you can take to protect your property.
- Fill bottles with drinking water
- Turn off the water line
- Clear out your gutters and drains
- Use sandbags to block any gaps where flooding could come through
- Move furniture, valuables, and electronics to higher ground or upper levels
- If the property has one level elevate items as much as possible from floor level
- Shut off the electricity at the breaker panel
- When not raining open windows to allow air to flow
- Turn on your sump pump or use other means to remove water as much as possible
- Photograph or video any flooding for insurance purposes
Prepare for Guests During an Emergency
During an emergency, Airbnb hosts may find they have guests in their properties. These guests may not have experience or be ready to deal with flooding or emergencies. Responsible hosts should prepare for emergency circumstances. This will protect both their guests and their property as much as possible.
- Have an emergency kit prepared for your guests
- Document the house in your house manual. Include a floor plan of the property that marks where guests can find the water line, gas line, breaker panel, etc.
- Include instructions for guests in case of an emergency. This should include instructions on how to turn off utilities and electronics.
- Include emergency contact details in your welcome pack.
- Have sandbags stored and ready if you are in a high-risk area
Cleaning Up After Flooding
After flooding, you will need to clean up the mess as fast as possible. A fast clean-up can help prevent further damage caused by rot or mold. You should always wear protective gear when cleaning. Your city may give specialist guidance in cases of pollution or water contamination. And remember to shut off the gas and electricity before starting a flood clean up.
- Check with your insurance company for their reimbursement requirements before starting
- Document damage for insurance purposes, with notes and photographs
- Keep records of all cleanup expenses
- Remove standing water
- Remove soaked materials
- Shovel out mud
- Remove carpets, wall interior surfaces, and insulation
- Scrub and disinfect walls and floors
- Dry using dehumidifiers
Airbnb Open Homes: Flooding
In the aftermath of a disaster like major flooding, Airbnb offers a service called Open Homes. Hosts can use Airbnb’s Open Homes program to offer free, temporary housing to those in need. This includes relief workers, neighbors and other affected persons. This is also another way to demonstrate that your Airbnb is community minded and forge stronger local relationships.
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