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Property Damaged After A Flood – Now What?

Property Damaged After A Flood – Now What?

It really does feel like the world is coming to an end, doesn’t it? First the pandemic, then the riots and now the KZN floods… what’s next? It seems that we cannot rule out anything, and all we can do is be prepared for every eventuality. 

If your home has been affected by the recent floods, you are probably wondering what your next step should be. 

Check Your Insurance Policy

Firstly you would need to check if you have adequate homeowners insurance. You would need to inspect your policy to ensure that you are covered for damages as a result of a flood or natural disaster. 

If you are, you can make a claim. If not, unfortunately, this could have devastating financial implications for you, as you will have to bear the costs to repair the damage.

What If Your Property Is Bonded?

If your property is bonded, you would, in all likelihood, have comprehensive homeowners cover as it is a requirement of the banks whenever a mortgage bond is registered in their favour. 

However, in most cases, it is just the building, i.e. the structure that is covered and not the contents. 

As a result of the recent catastrophic floods, we have all realised how important it is to be adequately insured. Now would be the time to contact your broker and review your insurance policy, especially policies concerning your home. 

What About Sectional Titles?

In a sectional title scheme, the body corporate is responsible for the maintenance of the common property. The common property is anything that is not a section in a sectional title scheme i.e. the physical ground on which the building stands, gardens, walkways, pools, roofs, staircases etc. 

Therefore, if any common property areas were damaged as a result of the floods, it is the body corporate’s responsibility to have the same repaired.

In terms of the Sectional Titles Schemes Management Act, the body corporate of a scheme has to have Body Corporate Insurance and would make a claim to repair the damage with the insurer. 

If the claim with the insurer is unsuccessful or partially successful, it is likely that the body corporate may raise a special levy; as the damage from a flood or natural disaster is an unforeseen expense, and the body corporate would probably have not included it in their annual budget. 

What If You Sold Your Property, But Transfer Is Not Registered?

If you have sold your property, and the transfer has not yet been registered, and the property was damaged in the floods, you as the seller will be responsible for restoring the property to the same condition it was in at the date of sale. 

If you do not have adequate insurance for this purpose, you would need to bear the costs to repair the property. Unfortunately, the purchaser may have a valid ground to cancel the sale if you cannot.

The best way to guard against devastating financial implications, which we have learnt the hard way, is to have adequate insurance. 

Therefore, it is advisable to contact your broker and make sure that you are covered, because who knows what’s next. 

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