FLOOD RISK AND YOUR NEW HOME. Why should you consider flood risk when you purchase a home and what can you do to protect yourself?

In this modern era of climate change, Flooding is become a common feature on the news, costing billions of pounds and causing heartbreak and upheaval to many families across the Country.  2013/14 saw the wettest winter since records began and December 2015 was the wettest and warmest December on record.

River and coastal flooding become more of a problem as the sea levels continue to rise. It is thought that 1.4 million homes are at risk in England and Wales, with a further 2.8 million being at risk from surface water or “flash flooding”.

In 2007  £3 billion was paid out by insurance companies for flood risk claims. It is thought the average residential property claim is around £50,000.

The Government introduced a scheme known as “Flood Re” in an effort to cap insurance premiums in high flood risk areas and make it possible for home owners to obtain and afford insurance, however this scheme does not apply to all homes and will expire in 2039.

Consider when buying a property whether it has ever flooded before, but also whether it is likely to flood in the future, given the ever changing climate.  Ask your Conveyancing Solicitor to put in place a Flood Search along with the other property searches before you exchange contracts.  However, if that search reveals an elevated flood risk, it may not be the end of your purchase.

There are steps you may wish to consider when making a decision whether to proceed:

  1. Firstly, speak with an expert Surveyor
  2. Check the position with insurance – negotiate with the insurance company
  3. Make a flood plan
  4. Consider Property Level Flood Protection
  5. Are there flood defences?

Property Level Flood Protection is an important way individual home owners can reduce the effects of flood risk – by fitting so called “fit and forget” flood defences such as flood resistant doors, raising electrical sockets, signing up to flood warnings and seeking expert advice you could also reduce your insurance premiums.

Public Flood Defences should also be checked before making a decision. Check with the Environment Agency and the Local Authority.  Is there a Sustainable Drainage System for the community? A pond or soakaway?  All of these things have an affect and should be an important part of the Home Buyers decision process.

When in doubt, speak with your Conveyancing Solicitor.  Contact Lorraine on 01529 301300 to find out more.

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