Checklist for landlords – if there’s an emergency and your tenant calls in a panic

Checklist for landlords – if there’s an emergency and your tenant calls in a panic
12th May 2023

A comprehensive landlord insurance policy should cover you for damage from storms, fire and flood, and also for damage caused by tenants or third-party break in or vandalism. But, to help ensure your cover remains valid, you should always try to keep any damage to a minimum.

So, when your tenant first moves in, make sure you (or your agent) gives them clear, written instructions on what to do and who to call if there is a fire, flood or other emergency event at your rental property. Even so, if something does go wrong, your tenant may still call you/the agent in a panic and you need to know what to say and do.

The first priority is to ensure their safety, then – as long as it’s not putting them in any danger – the next step is to take action to minimise damage.

To help you protect your tenant and your property, here is a checklist of what to tell your tenants and what action either you or they can take in the following emergency situations.

If you use a qualified agent to manage your properties, they should be aware of what to do and should manage this for you.

If there’s a fire

  • Leave the property immediately and move to a safe distance
  • Call the fire brigade

For small leaks or frozen pipes

  • Turn off the water at the mains stopcock
  • Call your insurance company, your agent (even if they just let the property for you, they may recommend a contractor or organise a plumber


If there’s a major leak or flood

  • Ask tenants or pop round to turn the water off at the mains stopcock
  • Ask tenants or visit the property to turn off the electricity at the mains fuse box
  • If there is a significant amount of water, ask the tenants to leave the property
  • Call your insurance company, agent or a contractor as above

If there’s a smell of gas

  • Tell tenants to leave the property immediately and move to a safe distance
  • Call National Gas Emergency Service immediately on 0800 111 999 or via textphone (minicom) on 0800 371 787 and notify the landlord and or agent

If the property’s suffered damage during bad weather

  • Ask tenants if the property is still secure – i.e. are the windows, doors, walls and rood still intact?
  • Take photos of the damage
  • If the windows or doors are broken, call your insurance company, agent or contact a contractor to make them secure as soon as possible and arrange for repairs.

If there’s been a break-in or vandalism

  • Call the police – 101 if the property is empty or 999 if there’s any suspicion that an intruder is still present
  • Find out what damage there is, call your insurer, agent or a contractor to make repairs
  • If any of the tenant’s belongings have been stolen or damaged, advise them to contact their own contents insurer.

To help ensure you have an appropriate level of cover with your landlord insurance and that you will be likely to have a successful claim should the need arise, it’s worth checking these three key things on your policy:

  1. What steps do you need to take to ensure the insurance remains valid? For instance, what are your obligations for maintaining pipework, making periodical checks and fitting fire doors if necessary?
  2. Does the insurance include cover for damage to your contents?
  3. Depending on the level of damage, you may need to rehome your tenants temporarily – does the insurance cover the cost of this?

If you would like a quote for landlord insurance, you can either complete your details online via our website or call on 01903 890044 to discuss your requirements and one of the team will be delighted to help.

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