Environmental searches: a simple solution to the complex issue of flood risk

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1 August 2016

Basic CMYKIn June, we witnessed flash flooding on an almost biblical scale. In parts of Southern England, cars were caught in rising floodwaters and businesses were forced to close as almost a month’s worth of rainfall fell in just one hour.

There are many common misconceptions around flood risk. When we think of flooding, there’s a tendency to picture a river that’s burst its banks. However, that’s not always the full story.

Did you know the Environment Agency estimates that more properties in England are at risk from surface water flooding than flooding from rivers and the sea?

In its practice note from May 2013, The Law Society draws attention to these hidden dangers, stating: “It may not be obvious when a property is at risk from flooding.

“Properties do not need to be close to a river or the sea or on low-lying ground to be exposed to flood risk. Surface water, groundwater and overflowing sewers are increasingly common causes of flooding.”

So, how do you make sure that your clients’ property transactions are completely watertight?

“Flood risk is a complex issue but the solution for conveyancers is simple,” says Steve Johnson, account director from Landmark Information Group. “The right property search will accurately identify the level of flood risk at a client’s property while removing the burden of interpretation from the conveyancer’s shoulders.”

Thames Water Property Searches offers Landmark’s standalone Homecheck Flood report, as well as the all-encompassing Riskview Environmental Search, both of which offer a fully practice note compliant flood risk assessment.

“While misconceptions may abound, it is common knowledge that buying a home in an area prone to flooding can make it difficult to obtain a mortgage, obtain suitable insurance cover or sell the property in the future,” says Steve.

“Given the huge negative implications for clients, it is essential that solicitors and conveyancers follow The Law Society’s guidance by addressing flood risk in accordance with the Flood Practice Note,” he adds. “That way both the homebuyer and lender are fully informed before the purchase completes and the conveyancer remains robust in their due diligence.”

If you would like to find out more about our products or would simply like some advice, please do not hesitate to contact our customer experience team on 0845 070 9148 or visit www.thameswater-propertysearches.co.uk


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