In private households, water damage usually occurs as a result of damage to water pipes, such as a burst water pipe. However, water damage also occurs in the event of natural disasters such as tsunamis or – which is more likely in Germany – floods. The last possible cause of water damage is the use of extinguishing water in the event of a fire. Either way, it’s usually the worst experience for residents and homeowners alike.
All the causes have one thing in common: water damage occurs that severely damages furniture, doors, floor coverings and wallpaper. In the longer term, mold often develops in the masonry and in the ceilings. Boxie24 has summarized the most important immediate measures for you, the issue of liability and tips for eliminating water damage so that your items can be safely brought to temporary storage, your apartment becomes habitable again and as little of your belongings are damaged as possible.
Immediate Measures after Water Damage
- In the event of tap water damage: block the main water valves!
- De-energize all electrical lines that are already affected or that are within the possible scope of moisture penetration: Fuses out!
- Take photos to document the damage.
- Pump off / suck off or absorb water.
- Put furniture up or separate it from the damp floor with plastic bags, unless otherwise possible. Renting storage space enables you to completely clear out the space.
- Valuable and sensitive items such as pictures, expensive books, musical instruments or other valuable things should be outsourced immediately. If you don’t have any free capacity, self storage is a good option. If a particularly valuable and irreplaceable object has already become damp or wet, you should put it in a plastic bag and freeze it. This stops the destruction process and specialist companies can save your item with special thawing processes.
- Pick up damp carpets and, if possible, store them not rolled up and let them dry.
- Lower the humidity by ventilating: Open the window! If the damage is greater or if there is not really enough ventilation: set up a dehumidifier!
- If the damage is greater, you should contact a specialist company as soon as possible.
- Contact your caretaker and, if you are living for rent, be sure to contact your landlord.
- Assign a system mechanic to determine the cause of the water damage.
Protect Yourself in the Event of Water Damage
In some cases, water damage is caused by a defective sewer pipe triggered. Here you can be endangered by germs and bacteria. Therefore, appropriate protective clothing such as:
- Rubber boots
- Disposable gloves
- Disposable protective suit
Outsourcing Water Damage
To dry your furniture and other items and to bring them out of the apartment to be renovated, you should have to rent a warehouse. This creates enough space to dry and renovate your apartment. Boxie24 also offers a pick-up service for your furniture and items. With a storage room from Boxie24 you have the advantage that you get the most stress-free storage. Water damage puts enough strain on your nerves, which is why we relieve you of as much work as possible. If you are not sure how much storage space you actually need, this is no problem at all: we have provided a storage room calculator that will help you calculate your storage space. Ultimately, at Boxie24 you only pay for the storage space that is actually needed.
Liability for Water Damage
Water damage is not only annoying and a lot of work – it also costs money. Who actually has to pay for the damage? As so often, that depends on the individual case. Three questions are crucial as to which insurance pays what. What is the cause of the water damage? Where did the damage occur? Has it been negligent?
If, for example, your washing machine leaks out, household contents insurance will cover damage to your home – if you have taken out one. If you do not have this, you are usually left with the costs. If water seeps into the apartment below you, your private liability insurance may cover the damage.
The building insurance is liable for all damage caused by permanently installed parts (water pipes) on the building itself. If the water penetrates through the outside, it does not stick. You can find the damage covered in the fine print of your insurance policy. Individual risks – e.g. Storm and flood insurance – can also be insured separately.
A part of the building insurance is usually included in the operating costs of an apartment. That is why the landlord is obliged to hold the building insurer and not you as the tenant liable if the water damage was caused only by slight negligence. This has already been decided by the Federal Court of Justice. However, if the landlord can prove that you acted with gross negligence as a tenant, you must of course be liable. According to a ruling by the Oldenburg Higher Regional Court, this was the case with a resident who had opened the tap of his washing machine without an Aquastop device without ever checking the poorly attached hose.
If you as the tenant are not responsible for the damage, you can reduce the rent. For this, the damage and the depreciation of the apartment must be assessed by an expert. In addition, if your apartment is not habitable for a long time after the water damage, you can give notice without notice – provided that you are not responsible for this yourself.
Elimination of Water Damage
At first glance, the cause is often less obvious than a defective washing machine. It is therefore necessary to determine where the water is coming from and to what extent the damage has already occurred. Leak detection and moisture measurement should be carried out by a specialist company. There are various methods of drying that are used depending on the material. Often wallpaper and floor coverings have to be removed, new tiles laid and painting work carried out.
After Water Damage: Tips & Advice on Drying
In no case should you be careless about water damage. All affected items should be dried outside of the house or apartment. Self-storage at Boxie24 is suitable for this.
To prevent mold formation on walls and floors, they should be dried professionally. Floating screed can be particularly problematic here, as the moisture can have penetrated under the screed and soaked insulating layers. This damage is not immediately obvious! Therefore, if in doubt, have a specialist company inspect the walls and ceilings.
Moisture in a wall can also go unnoticed and look completely normal at first glance. That is why it always makes sense to call in a specialist or expert for water damage. He can carry out a professional moisture measurement of the affected areas and components. Consequential damage – especially mold – caused by overlooked moisture can thus be prevented.
Mold in walls, ceilings and generally in living spaces is poisonous and extremely dangerous. The molds lead to respiratory diseases, allergic reactions, asthma, bronchitis and other diseases.