Shopping for a home in a flood danger space

Though most properties within the UK are usually not prone to flooding, hundreds of thousands are, even in areas that aren’t instantly waterside.

When components of the nation are devastated by floods and the information is dominated by footage of unlucky owners mopping up their basements, the pure human response is to assume, ‘That would have been me.’

It is vital for owners and house-hunters alike to know the fundamentals about flooding and the related dangers. This straightforward step-by-step information is designed to assist these shopping for a home in a flood danger space.

What are the primary causes of flooding?

The most typical reason behind flooding is rivers bursting their banks after intervals of heavy rain. In coastal areas, unusually excessive tides additionally current an apparent danger. However even in areas that aren’t close to the ocean or a river, there’s a danger of so-called ‘floor water flooding’, usually attributable to the form of flash floods that observe thunderstorms. One other, rarer, phenomenon is groundwater flooding, when the water desk rises, and water begins to seep into basements and cellars.

How prevalent is the issue?

Extra prevalent than you may assume. The Atmosphere Company has calculated that round one in six properties within the UK is at some danger of flooding. Some low-lying areas have lengthy been recognized as flood plains, experiencing flooding at common intervals, and though new constructing on flood plains is discouraged, it nonetheless takes place in some areas.

How do I verify if a property is in a flood danger space?

The best solution to discover out if a home is in a flood danger space is to go to the government website and enter the postcode of the realm through which you have an interest. Areas are graded for flood danger, from ‘excessive’ to ‘very low’, often relying on their proximity to rivers and the earlier historical past of flooding within the space. However be aware that flood maps can change infrequently so it’s good to get data from different sources, e.g. native property brokers or, if you’re shopping for, the proprietor of the property. Your conveyancing solicitor will even must be on the ball.

What are the implications for my house insurance coverage?

Appreciable, significantly if a property has been flooded previously or is in an space of excessive danger. When purchasing round for insurance coverage, you have to be armed with as a lot data as doable, in an effort to get an inexpensive deal. Some insurers will ask for an Insurance coverage Associated Request Letter, requiring you to get a proper letter from the Atmosphere Company, confirming the flood danger stage related to the property. This will even stand you in good stead together with your mortgage-lender, who will need to fulfill themselves that the property is insurable.

You also needs to try Flood Re, a particular scheme just lately established by the Affiliation of British Insurers, aimed to profit owners at important flood danger by capping premiums. The scheme gives a useful backstop within the case of properties which have had multiple episode of flooding and may beforehand have turn out to be uninsurable.

What further prices ought to I count on to incur?

The obvious one is the upper insurance coverage premiums which you’ll count on to pay in an space of excessive flood danger. They are often irksome however should you keep in mind that you’ll in all probability pay considerably much less for the property due to its at-risk standing, you’ll not essentially be worse off in the long term.

You also needs to contemplate investing in measures (see under) to include the harm attributable to flooding if the worst involves the worst. In areas which flood usually, it’s a good suggestion to buy a provide of sandbags and different flood guards to stop a last-minute scramble.

What preventative measures can owners take?

Given the havoc wreaked on carpets by flooding it’s common sense to not carpet any clearly at-risk rooms comparable to basements, utilizing tiles or wooden floors as a substitute. One other trick which might prevent some huge cash within the occasion of flooding is ensuring that energy factors situated in at-risk rooms are situated excessive up on the partitions, moderately than at ground stage. Becoming non-return valves in drains is usually a helpful defence towards flash floods. Final however not least, flood-proof your valuables: should you personal a priceless Picasso, maintain it within the attic, not the cellar.

If I’m promoting a home in a flood danger space, what authorized obligations am I beneath?

The principle one is to be upfront with patrons about any earlier historical past of flooding within the property. If the house is in an space in danger, they’re entitled to ask about flooding episodes previously and you must be ready to produce them with related particulars, comparable to previous flood harm, the price of repairing it and any knock-on influence on insurance coverage premiums. Preserve written flood-related data, as you’d maintain outdated gasoline and electrical energy payments, and many others.

Hundreds of thousands of Britons dwell in areas which are at some danger of flooding. They could have a number of extra sleepless nights than individuals who dwell on excessive floor but when they assessed the dangers and took acceptable steps to handle these dangers, there isn’t a purpose for them to really feel on the mercy of the weather. Shopping for a home in a flood danger space ought to actually not be considered an entire no-no.