As we come through another wet winter, Alistair Millar from Tallents Solicitors in Southwell, explains why it is more important than ever before for purchasers to investigate the risk and potential impact of flooding for the property they are thinking of buying.
When caught up in the prospect of owning a new home, many purchasers forget to consider flooding risks, but no-one should now assume their house is safe from the risk of flooding, comments Alistair.
Storms Dennis and Ciara meant that February 2020 was the wettest February on record for England, Wales and Northern Ireland and the second wettest for Scotland.
Heavy rainfall is becoming more common according to the Met Office and climate change is making devastating weather events, like some of the winter storms we have been experiencing, even more likely.
How to find out if the property you are buying is at risk of flooding
As part of the normal conveyancing work, your conveyancing solicitor should always enquire before contract as to whether the property has been affected by flooding in the past.
Even though a property may seem completely landlocked, miles from water sources, it should not be assumed that it will be safe from flooding in the future.
As part of the searches carried out when you buy a property, they will also carry out an environmental search. This is a basic report, highlighting any flooding, landslide, subsidence and contaminated land issues.
However, the replies given can often be non-committal so the best way to ascertain potential flooding is to request a Flood Risk Report.
What is a Flood Risk Report?
A Flood Risk Report is a detailed document, designed to assess the risk of flooding from groundwater, surface water, sea water and river water, for a specific property.
An identified flood risk will have an impact on the availability and cost of building insurance, which is required to make the property mortgageable, and ultimately a highlighted flooding risk will also affect the value of the property.
The Flood Risk Report will also let you know what flood defences are in place which may reduce the impact of future flooding.
Consider potential flooding risks when buying a property
Flooding damages to residential and non-residential properties in England are estimated at an annual cost of more than £1.3 billion. The cost of remedial work to a flood-damaged property can run into the tens of thousands, so potential flooding should always be a serious consideration when buying a property.
Buyers can ask the Environment Agency for the flooding history on a property but at Tallents Solicitors we encourage our clients to consider a Flood Risk Report when purchasing property. The detailed issues it might highlight could save tens of thousands of pounds in the long term.