Shopping for a home in a flood threat space

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

When elements of the nation are devastated by floods and the information is dominated by photos of unlucky owners mopping up their basements, the pure human response is to suppose, ‘That might have been me.’

It can be crucial 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 threat space.

What are the principle causes of flooding?

The most typical explanation for flooding is rivers bursting their banks after durations of heavy rain. In coastal areas, unusually excessive tides additionally current an apparent threat. However even in areas that aren’t close to the ocean or a river, there’s a threat of so-called ‘floor water flooding’, sometimes attributable to the kind 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 suppose. The Surroundings Company has calculated that round one in six properties within the UK is at some threat 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 examine if a property is in a flood threat space?

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

What are the implications for my residence insurance coverage?

Appreciable, notably if a property has been flooded previously or is in an space of excessive threat. When buying round for insurance coverage, you need to be armed with as a lot info as attainable, as a way to get an affordable deal. Some insurers will ask for an Insurance coverage Associated Request Letter, requiring you to get a proper letter from the Surroundings Company, confirming the flood threat degree related to the property. This may even stand you in good stead together with your mortgage-lender, who will wish to fulfill themselves that the property is insurable.

You also needs to take a look at Flood Re, a particular scheme lately established by the Affiliation of British Insurers, aimed to learn owners at vital flood threat by capping premiums. The scheme provides a useful backstop within the case of properties which have had multiple episode of flooding and may beforehand have change into uninsurable.

What additional prices ought to I anticipate to incur?

The obvious one is the upper insurance coverage premiums which you’ll be able to anticipate to pay in an space of excessive flood threat. They are often irksome however if you happen to keep in mind that you’ll most likely 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 take into account investing in measures (see beneath) 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 similar to basements, utilizing tiles or wood floors as an alternative. One other trick which may prevent some huge cash within the occasion of flooding is ensuring that energy factors positioned in at-risk rooms are positioned excessive up on the partitions, fairly than at ground degree. Becoming non-return valves in drains generally is a helpful defence in opposition to flash floods. Final however not least, flood-proof your valuables: if you happen to personal a priceless Picasso, maintain it within the attic, not the cellar.

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

The principle one is to be upfront with consumers 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 that you must be able to produce them with related particulars, similar to previous flood harm, the price of repairing it and any knock-on influence on insurance coverage premiums. Hold written flood-related information, as you’d maintain outdated fuel and electrical energy payments, and so on.

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