Ruth Mitchell

Member Article

Be aware of flood plain dangers say surveyors

Almost half of all people living on flood plains are aware of the fact that their homes could be at risk of water damage – and might also mean they are uninsured.

Guy Sampson, a surveyor with George F White is calling for home owners or buyers to be prudent and to check the land – and the liability they may be acquiring. The insurance industry has pledged to cover most properties at risk of flooding until 2013, but after this no guarantees can be made, and mortgages of uninsured or uninsurable properties may be in breach of contract with their lenders.

Houses can be at high risk of flooding, despite being nowhere near a watercourse. In 2007, half of insurance claims for flood damage concerned properties outside the floodplain affected by surface water flooding.

Evidence of flooding can be easily concealed by refurbishment, hiding the risk from future buyers.

Sampson said: “There is evidence that, immediately after a flood, affected properties rarely exchange hands, or will sell for discounted prices. However as evidence of damage fades and flooding recedes from the collective awareness of purchasers, prices very swiftly return to levels comparable with unaffected property.”

However solicitors or surveyors should raise the issue of flooding, as otherwise they could be open to a claim for negligence. To minimise potential risks, and to comply with new insurance rules starting in 2013, surveyors can choose to always include flooding surveys in valuations.

George White added: “Our flooding survey now included in formal valuations will automatically reduce prospective investors’ risks and help indicate the danger of invading water.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Ruth Mitchell .

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