Flood Risks Revealed

Published: 18/07/2012

As the rain refuses to let up, flood warnings remain in place for many areas of the UK, and in particular, the south-east of England. With the chance of flooding so apparent, it is essential for homebuyers to be aware of any risks associated with their potential property.

Unlike many solicitors, Goldsmith Williams automatically run an environmental search. If the results reveal the property is within the vicinity of a floodplain, we then order a flood risk report, a copy of which is sent to the client.

We advise them to provide a copy to their insurer to ensure that the correct cover is given and the property is adequately insured.

What's more, if the flood report reveals a moderate to high risk of surface or ground water flooding, a copy is also sent to the lender requesting confirmation that they are happy to proceed. That way all basis are covered.

Today’s Conveyancer is already questioning whether conveyancers have a responsibility to provide flood searches as part of the compulsory search bundle in order to provide clients with all the information to allow them to make a fully informed decision about their purchase. Failure to provide this service could see conveyancers labelled culpable, even negligent, should the dams break and the worse happens.

Concerns for at-risk homeowners were raised back in March as news of the insurance industry and Government’s “gentleman’s agreement” was poised to end in June 2013, potentially leaving 200,000 properties uninsured against flooding.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has been working on plans so those in high risk flooding areas have adequate cover. However, its proposals have been described as “vague” and “unfair” and criticised by The Royal Institute for Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

Alan Cripps is the RICS Associate Director:

“We welcome steps to ensure that homeowners living in flood risk areas will be able to secure insurance. Without this, by June next year, homeowners and businesses may find their properties are not only unmortgagable and unprotected from thousands of pounds of flood damage – but may also see their property severely drop in value.

“However this latest announcement is both vague and unfair. Not only does this penalise homeowners in low flood risk areas, but it is forcing homeowners and families who are already under financial pressure to pay extra to their insurance companies. And there is no indication of how this extra money will be used or managed. Once again, the government is passing the buck and is leaving others to pick up the pieces.”

Content correct at time of publication

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