Chehalis Basin Strategy wants renters to understand flood risks


While longtime residents of the Chehalis River Basin are all too familiar with the damage that can result from flooding, those moving to the area may be unfamiliar with the risks.

Landlords in Washington are not required to notify tenants of their flood risk.

As renters across Southwest Washington look to renew their leases in the coming months, the Chehalis Basin Strategy recently launched a resource hub to help renters protect themselves from the potential danger.

To prepare, the Chehalis Basin Strategy recommends that renters first understand the flood risk, as up to 30% of renters could be unprepared to respond in the event of a flood. This can include signing up for the Chehalis Basin Flood Warning System, which notifies residents of forecasts and water alerts.

Kat Dickey, flood risk reduction program coordinator for the Office of Chehalis Basin, said residents should also prepare a household plan for what to do in the event of a flood and protect household property.

“Flooding is a natural part of life in the basin,” Dickey said. “The longer you live here, the more likely you are to experience it.”

Typically, a renter or landlord’s insurance policy does not cover flood damage to personal belongings, which means a resident could be left to foot the bill.

The Chehalis Basin Strategy recommends that renters research low-cost, renter-specific flood insurance.

While the additional insurance can help pay for items with monetary value, it’s not as helpful in protecting items with sentimental value.

“Insurance can’t cover things like that — the loss of photographs,” Dickey said.

Dickey said protecting property can be as easy as moving items to a higher shelf or area of the home.

During active flooding, Dickey said safety is the most important consideration. Residents are encouraged to check forecasts, flooding levels and Lewis County’s emergency alert system for updates, and to contact neighbors and your landlord to let them know of the situation.

In the event of an evacuation during a flood, Dickey recommended contacting local authorities to see if and when it is safe to return. It’s important to remember that damage can occur even after the water recedes, so assess your home or apartment for any mold or other water damage.

If damage occurs, residents should document the damage and take photographs, and submit a written request to their landlord for repairs.

If you have questions about your rights, or how to prepare a plan for flooding, visit  for more information. The site also includes a contact form so landlords can learn about steps they can take to protect themselves and their property.