Flood Risk: Dispelling the Myths and Advice for Homebuyers
It is vital that property professionals, homeowners and buyers all understand their level of flood risk. Insurance may become expensive and, in some cases, unavailable.
A lack of affordable flood insurance can impact on a property’s future valuation, mortgage application and saleability. It is estimated that as many as 10% of residential properties are not insurable at standard rates and even those properties in areas deemed insurable by the Government are receiving insurance quotes with their premiums increasing fourfold.
The Environment Agency estimates 1.2 million properties are at risk of river flooding, one million are at risk of coastal flooding and 1.9 million properties of surface water flooding.
The flooding at Boscastle, Lostwithiel and other parts of the West Country has shown we are not immune and changes in weather patterns and climate change are likely to see more and more areas affected, or the frequency increasing.
To assist assessing the risk, homebuyers should seriously consider obtaining a desktop flood report. This will alert them to any potential problems at a stage when it is still possible to renegotiate the price, research whether insurance cover will be available, and consider flood resistance or resilience measures.
Many homeowners are mistaken by the belief that their house is not at risk based upon myths about flood risk. Examples of such myths include the following:-
• “The house is on a hill and can’t flood” – This may be true but access to and from the house could still be liable to flooding. Furthermore, surface water runs down hill and may run into the property
• “The property is not near a river or sea” – In 2007 two-thirds of floods were caused by surface water flooding
• “I know my area” – Recent flooding has shown that areas not previously flooded have been affected and local knowledge would not have been of assistance.
• “The house has never flooded before” – Changes in climate change, weather conditions and the build environment may introduce flood risk where none existed previously. Many of the flash floods have affected houses never previously affected
David Wallis Partner and head of residential conveyancing at Gill Akaster LLP believes flooding to be a real risk for homeowners: “Many of the myths which we thought to be true about flooding have been disproven and homeowners should seriously consider what they can do to be aware of the risk and lessen the effects.
Gill Akaster LLP can undertake a Flood Report for clients for a small charge of just £20 plus VAT, providing our clients with far more information about flood risk than was previously available. The Flood Report identifies the flood risk and whether the property is within 250 metres of a flood risk area. It will also show whether the property is insurable on standard terms. At Gill Akaster LLP we want to ensure our clients have the best possible advice on their purchase and a Flood Report allows us to do this.”
For more advice on a Flood Report contact David Wallis at Gill Akaster LLP.