Flood risk and your home

November 28, 2014 10:02 am

Flood risk and your home

The Environment Agency estimates that 1 in 6 homes are at risk from flooding, and we’re all familiar with countless news stories over recent years. This article looks at what you can do to assess these risks when buying a property, and is based on current best practice from The Law Society.

Given that flooding may be surface water flooding, sewer flooding, groundwater flooding or river/coastal flooding, it may not be obvious on inspection that a property is at risk from flooding. As solicitors, we are able to help you investigate whether a property is at risk, and on what terms you might be able to obtain insurance for the property.

There are a couple of useful websites to start with, though these websites are based on limited information and should not be taken as the last word on a property’s risk.  The Environment Agency provides a search tool at maps.environment-agency.gov.uk and the Land Registry has a Flood Risk Indicator at www.landregistry.gov.uk/commercial/risk-management/flood-risk-indicator

However, these resources are not a substitute for a professional flood search. We can carry these out for you at a cost of around £30-£40. These searches cover, the kinds of flooding mentioned above, and they give an insurability rating and practical advice as to what further steps you can take in each situation.

In July 2015, a new agreement between the UK government and the insurance industry will come into force. This is known as ‘Flood Re’, and will place a cap on the cost of insurance premiums in high risk areas. Flood Re will not cover leasehold or commercial properties and there are a number of other exclusions. For excluded properties, it may be the case that flood insurance is unavailable or unaffordable, and buyers of properties need to be aware that an uninsurable property is effectively unmortgageable.

Flooding is clearly something that is not going to go away, and it is crucial to obtain the best advice when buying property.

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Please feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss this matter further:

Telephone us on 01522 687500 or email enquiries@pagenelson.co.uk