Shopping for a home in a flood danger space

Though most properties within the UK are usually not liable to flooding, thousands and 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 householders mopping up their basements, the pure human response is to suppose, ‘That might have been me.’

It is crucial for householders 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 principle causes of flooding?

The commonest reason for flooding is rivers bursting their banks after durations 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 brought on by the type of flash floods that comply with 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 would possibly suppose. 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 examine if a property is in a flood danger space?

The only method 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 world wherein 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 on occasion 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 should 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 buying round for insurance coverage, try to be armed with as a lot data as potential, 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 Atmosphere Company, confirming the flood danger stage related to the property. This will even stand you in good stead along with your mortgage-lender, who will wish to fulfill themselves that the property is insurable.

You also needs to try Flood Re, a particular scheme not too long ago established by the Affiliation of British Insurers, aimed to learn householders 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 would possibly beforehand have change into 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 in case you 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 think about investing in measures (see beneath) to comprise the injury brought on by flooding if the worst involves the worst. In areas which flood commonly, 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 householders take?

Given the havoc wreaked on carpets by flooding it is not uncommon sense to not carpet any clearly at-risk rooms equivalent to basements, utilizing tiles or wooden floors as an alternative. One other trick which might 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, reasonably than at flooring stage. Becoming non-return valves in drains generally is a helpful defence towards flash floods. Final however not least, flood-proof your valuables: in case you personal a priceless Picasso, preserve it within the attic, not the cellar.

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

The primary 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 it’s good to be able to produce them with related particulars, equivalent to previous flood injury, the price of repairing it and any knock-on impression on insurance coverage premiums. Preserve written flood-related information, as you’d preserve previous fuel and electrical energy payments, and so on.

Tens of millions of Britons reside in areas which can be at some danger of flooding. They could 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 is no such thing as a cause for them to really feel on the mercy of the weather. Shopping for a home in a flood danger space ought to definitely not be considered a whole no-no.