Reducing risk in conveyancing: How to identify flood risk

GeodesysEarlier this year, Geodesys – a leading provider of conveyancing searches for residential and commercial properties throughout England and Wales – ran a campaign to highlight flood risk to residential properties.

According to the latest information from the Environment Agency, the UK currently has 5.9 million properties at risk of flooding, equating to one in six homes being at risk – more risk than a property catching fire –and an increase of 400,000 properties since 2013.

Flood risk – the issues

Flooding can happen anywhere, even if a property is not next to the sea or a river. Flood damage devastates memories, lives, and properties, highly increases the risk of illness and it costs large sums of money and time to put right.  It’s really important for homebuyers to understand the level of flood risk on a potential property purchase.

Not only will flooding affect the price of buildings insurance, but it will also cause disruption later on, when obtaining a mortgage and eventually reselling the property.

The average cost per claim for flooding vs. burglary vs. fire protection in 2015, identified flooding as the risk which cost the most (£28,000) to rectify in comparison to £1,000 for burglaries and £7,300 for fires.

Alerting homebuyers to the risks

There are many different types of flooding, but the most recent examples tend to have been surface water flooding.  This is caused by prolonged, heavy downpours in urbanised areas, where there are limited ways in which the water can be absorbed into the ground, so it ends up flooding rivers and drains.  In spite of surface water flooding making headlines, it’s still an area that’s not well-understood by the average homebuyer.

It’s no longer enough for conveyancers to rely on the Property Information Form (TA6) to identify whether a property is at risk of flooding. Last year saw Paul and Hazel Edwards from Newcastle make national news headlines after their property was flooded.  They sued the previous owners of their house, claiming that a Facebook photograph proved they were hiding a flood problem that hadn’t been revealed on the Property Information Form.

The benefits of a flood report

Conveyancers should look for a residential property search that gives them a full assessment on the different types of flooding, plus information on insurability.  A full assessment will also give details of whether a property qualifies for Flood Re – an insurance scheme set up to help households who live in a flood risk area find affordable home insurance. Full flood risk assessments for residential properties include:

  • Landmark Homecheck Pro Flood
  • Groundsure Homebuyers
  • Groundsure Flood
  • Groundsure Avista
  • Landmark Riskview Residential

For information on sewer flooding conveyancers should refer to the CON29DW Drainage and Water report, which is also an essential part of the conveyancing process.

Geodesys offers a number of flood searches and the CON29DW, providing conveyancers with sound knowledge of any flood risks to their client, enabling them to make better, informed decisions about their purchase before proceeding further.

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