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Deal with flooding in a rented home - overview

This advice applies to England

Your landlord is responsible for repairs if your rented home is affected by flooding, from rain or an issue with a neighbouring property. Your landlord is unlikely to be responsible if you caused the flooding yourself.

This responsibility includes:

  • fixing damage to the structure of your home
  • making sure your water, gas, electricity, sanitation and heating are working

Tell your landlord as soon as possible if your rented home has flooded and needs repairs. Your landlord must then carry out the repairs within a reasonable period of time, agreed between you depending on the type of work to be done.

You don’t need to move out if you can get safely from room to room while repairs are being done. You might be able to get a temporary rent reduction (or claim for one later) if you can’t use every room. Your landlord is legally responsible for protecting you and your belongings during this time.

If you’re homeless due to flooding

If you can't continue to live in your home because of flood damage and you have nowhere else to live, ask your local council to help you.

You should be treated as a priority case because this is an emergency. Your local council has a legal responsibility to find you and your family a suitable temporary home if you’re eligible for assistance.

You might have to register as homeless to get this process going. You’ll find lots of helpful information on housing charity Shelter’s website, and you can contact your local Citizens Advice as well.

Move out temporarily

You must tell your landlord if your home is so badly damaged by flooding that you have to move out.

Your landlord doesn’t have to find alternative accommodation for you.

Don’t move out until:

  • you’ve told your landlord why you’re leaving
  • your landlord has confirmed you can move back in, on the same terms as before, once the repairs are done
  • your landlord has estimated how long the repairs are expected to take

Pay your rent if you’ve had to move out

Your landlord might have insurance that covers your temporary relocation while repairs are made. If they don't, you should try to reach an agreement about your rent payment.

Ask your landlord:

  • to suspend rent payments on the home you've moved out of, or
  • to pay reasonable costs for alternative accommodation.

This is a complicated situation and you should contact your local Citizens Advice for help.

If you get housing benefit

Your housing benefit can usually only go towards the rent for one property. Your local council will decide whether you can get housing benefit for the flooded home you've moved out of, or your alternative accommodation.

You might be able to get housing benefit for both properties if:

  • you can’t avoid paying both rents at the same time

  • your alternative accommodation needs adapting because you have a disability

Your local council will decide on this. In some cases, you might be able to appeal their decision.

If your landlord won’t help with your rent

You may have to go to court if your landlord refuses either to waive or reduce rent on your usual home, or to help you with the rent for your temporary accommodation.

A court might:

  • order your landlord to reduce your rent for the period that you’re unable to live in your home
  • award you compensation for things like inconvenience and distress

The amount of reduction or compensation awarded by the court will depend on:

  • how bad the damage is to your home
  • how long it will take to repair
  • other unforeseen factors

Replace your belongings

If your belongings are damaged as a result of flooding you can make a claim on your contents insurance.

If you don’t have contents insurance, your local council might be able to help you through their welfare assistance scheme. This can replace your furniture or household appliances, such as cookers. Each council runs their own scheme, so contact your local council and ask if they can help you. You can find your council's contact details on GOV.UK.

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