If you are looking to purchase a property, it is very important that a flood risk report is completed. In recent years, the number of flooding incidents has risen as a result of climate change. It has been noted that over the last century sea levels have risen by 16cm.
| What is a flood risk report, and do I need one prior to purchasing my property?
Your environmental search will reveal if the property you are intending on purchasing is situated on a flood plain. If it is, a flood risk report is necessary to assess how likely it is that the property will suffer from flooding. This assessment will look at previous flooding and risk of future flooding.
The Environment Agency estimates that one in six homes in England (approximately 5.2 million properties) are at risk from flooding. The Environment Agency estimates that 2.8 million homes are at risk of surface water flooding and 1.4 million homes are at risk of groundwater flooding.
| Consequences of flooding
There are a number of consequences of flooding for homeowners which are:
- structural damage and contamination
- loss of possessions
- stressful negotiations with loss adjusters
- potential loss in value.
Consequently, a flooded property can be devastating and extremely stressful for the homeowner.
| Types of flood risk
There are 5 types of flood risk that you should be aware of:
- River flooding – when the water in a river, lake, canal, culvert or stream rises and spreads out onto the surrounding land
- Coastal flooding – occurs when low lying areas become submerged in sea water as a result of a combination of storm urges, high waves and high tides
- Surface water flooding (Pluvial/Flash flooding) – which occurs when there has been heavy rainfall which overwhelms the drainage capacity of the area
- Groundwater flooding – occurs when underground water levels rise above the surface level and usually occurs in low-lying areas
- Sewer flooding – occurs when the sewers become overwhelmed by heavy rainfall or when there is a blockage in the drainage system
In April 2016, the Government introduced the scheme ‘Flood Re’ which ensures that flood cover is provided for most residential properties. Flood Re provides flood insurance for homes over a 25-year period from April 2016, but premiums will be adjusted as time passes. Certain properties (such as commercial property, buy to let properties, residential properties built since 1 January 2009 and blocks of flats) is not covered by the scheme.
Therefore, if you are purchasing a property, it is very important that you obtain a flood risk report and carry out the necessary investigations about the risk of flooding. If there are flood risks, you should consider insurance before exchange of contracts.
If you require further advice or you wish to purchase or sell a property, please contact our residential conveyancing department directly, or call out head office on 0800 988 7756