By Legal Futures Associate Thames Water Property Searches
As the UK grapples with hotter weather than ever before this summer, the climate crisis has been brought in to sharp focus. In July we saw the mercury rise to levels never seen before in the UK, with many experts suggesting we could be even deeper in to the climate emergency than previously predicted.
It’s imperative that property professionals are proactive in advising their clients about risks associated with climate change. Heatwaves can trigger subsidence and when they break may also lead to thunderstorms and flash flooding. Environmental property searches are crucial in providing conveyancers and homebuyers with the information they need to predict and prepare for such extreme weather hazards which are sadly on the rise.
Thames Water Property Searches’ environmental reports are able to help identify a property’s future exposure to hazards arising from climate change such as subsidence, coastal erosion and flooding.
Data from the Environment Agency indicates that 5.2 million homes and businesses in England are at risk of flooding – equivalent to one in six homes. What’s more, it predicts that there could be up to a 50 per cent increase in the number of homes built on flood plains over the next 50 years.
Meanwhile ground subsidence is a further negative effect of climate change. According to the British Geological Society, hotter and drier weather causes soil to harden which in turn means the shrinking, swelling and cracking of the ground.
If a property is affected by subsidence, banks and building societies may be reluctant to loan against it and it can also lead to higher insurance premiums and a reduction in the value of a property so that it becomes harder to re-mortgage or sell.
As such, environmental searches are an essential part of the conveyancing process so that potential purchasers are fully aware of the environmental risks around a property.
Our range of accurate and reliable environmental searches at Thames Water Property Searches cover a variety of potential risks a property could face, ensuring conveyancers are able to identify potential contamination risks before purchase as well as comprehensive due diligence reports on ever evolving flood risk and subsidence.
If it is found that a property lies within a risk area, these crucial searches will give property professionals and their clients the opportunity to make further enquiries with the seller, local authority as well as the opportunity to seek expert advice and if necessary, order further specific searches before deciding whether to go-ahead with a property purchase.