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What to Do After a Flood

Flooding is one of the worst natural disasters that a real estate manager may have to deal with.
Here are some suggestions for how to avoid additional issues as you begin picking up the pieces after flooding on your property.


  • Contact City Building Inspector or Fire Chief to verify if building is safe to enter
  • Inspect the building at the earliest opportunity to assess its condition
  • Do not go into a building if it is still flooded or if there is standing water next to the outside walls (the building may not be structurally sound)
  • Walk around the building and check for downed or loose power lines and gas leaks
    • Contact the appropriate utility company if observed
  • Before restoring power or beginning clean-up:
    • Check the foundation for cracks and examine overhangs for missing structural supports


  • Turn off electricity at the main circuit breaker (if you can reach it without stepping in water, or call an electrician)
    • Avoid live wires and do not turn on electrical appliances until an electrician determines it is safe to do so
  • Turn off water supply if there are broken or leaking pipes
  • Wear sturdy shoes and watch out for flood-damaged materials


Flood Facts:
Are you covered?

  • Floods are the #1 natural disaster in the United States
  • Floods and flash floods happen in all 50 states
  • Most insurance does not cover flood damage
  • Hurricanes, winter storms and snowmelt are common (but often overlooked) causes of flooding
  • Water damage from hurricanes and other disasters is also not covered by standard policies
  • You are eligible to purchase flood insurance as long as your community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program
  • State or federal disaster assistance is only available if your community is declared a disaster area

More information:

  • Engage disaster recovery contractors to minimize loss and fast-track restoration efforts
  • Pump out water gradually to minimize structural damage (e.g. one-third of the water each day for three days)
  • Check ceilings, walls and drywall for signs of sagging
    • Poke or drill a hole at the edge of the sagging area (away from electrical fixtures) to allow trapped water to drain
  • Cover holes in roof, windows and walls with boards, tarps or plastic sheets
    • Brace sagging floors and roofs with 4 x 4 boards
  • Circulate air throughout the building to reduce moisture and dissipate gas leaks
    • Use dehumidifiers and fans to speed up evaporation
    • Consult a professional to determine mold damage and remediation
  • Replace water sodden wallboard and insulation
  • Dry or remove clothing, bedding and other materials that may harbor mold or mildew
  • Replace or thoroughly dry appliances
  • Secure the property to guard against looters


  • Call your insurance company. Check your policy for requirements about reporting a loss.
    • Complete initial incident report that captures the period immediately before and after the loss:
    • Document the damage – take photographs or video
    • List injuries, deaths, interactions with first responders, and actions taken by staff


Download a copy of this What to Do After a Flood Checklist.