Winter is here and with bad weather on the horizon, a new survey suggests that people looking to buy a home in the UK should be given more information on the property’s flood risk.
The investigation, conducted by the Association of British Insurer, found that 90% of people believe more flood risk information should be included on material about properties up for sale.
Presently, no property search websites have this type of information for the location of properties that they list. This is despite including features such as school catchment areas. Additionally, the ABI notes that there is no flood risk information included in the details of new build properties.
As such, the association has calling for agents and property search websites to provide traffic light style information which indicates the risk for the areas of homes that they list. This information, according to the association, should be based on publicly accessible Environment Agency data.
The Association has also called for solicitors and conveyancers to follow the Law Society’s guidance to conduct exact searches for flood risk. In addition, it feels that they should arrange for a detailed assessment by a technical expert if a flood risk is found to be present.
What’s more, the ABI is publishing a new house hunters’ guide, to assist people of the measures that they should take in order to stay up to date with flood risks on properties that they are looking to buy.
‘Flooding can ruin a home, destroying valuable possessions and often force you to move out while repairs are made,’ said ABI director general, Huw Evans. ‘A higher risk of flooding also tends to mean higher insurance premiums.’
‘With one in six homes at risk of flooding, we need to make thinking about flood risk as much part of the home buying process as school catchment areas and transport links, ‘Evans continued. ‘At the moment, information on whether a property is at risk of flooding comes too late, often when people have already invested hundreds if not thousands of pounds in the conveyancing process.’
‘That’s why we are calling for those who sell properties to include new traffic light warnings on flood risk in a property’s area. You can currently get more information about what paper your new neighbours might read than if a particular property might be at flood risk!’
Flood risk information should be included in sales material
Opening the flood gates
Mr Evans went on to say that, ‘these simple warnings will help people go into the home buying process with their eyes open and knowing whether further investigations are necessary. We now want to work with estate agents, property websites and the Environment Agency to make this happen.’
Encouragingly, Floods Minister Rory Stewart stated that more information is being made available. He said that, ‘flooding can devastate lives, homes and businesses. It is important that everyone has access to the right information, including the flood risk in their area, so they can make fully informed decisions when buying a home.’
‘We are making more data and technology available to help people plan and prepare for potential floods, such as the Environment’s Agency’s free Flood Warnings Service and our advanced flood mapping and forecasting,’ he added.