Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Flood risk alert for future home owners and coveyancers

Buying a property that may be within the range of a flood plain has become even riskier due to the news that around 200,000 homes at risk from flooding could face problems getting insurance from next year.

Properties that have a 75% chance of flooding in any one year are those most at risk. Boston and Skegness in Lincolnshire is the constituency with the most homes at significant risk of  flooding with 7,550 properties under threat, followed by the Vale of Clwyd (7,339 homes), Folkestone and Hythe (7,196), and Windsor (7,125). Some properties in Great Yarmouth also fall into this category.

The reason for this is that an existing deal with the Government expires in 2013 and time is running out for ongoing talks about a new safety net arrangement.

The Association of British Insurers’ director-general Otto Thoresen said: "Insurers want to make sure that every home has access to affordable insurance, should the worst happen, and we're concerned that those people most at risk will lose out unless the Government considers a safety net.

"We are frustrated with the progress of our talks with the Government on this issue and want it to look urgently at a model that would allow flood cover to remain widely available and competitively priced. No country in the world has an entirely free market providing universal affordable flood insurance, and action is needed now to avoid 200,000 high-risk homes struggling to afford cover."

The possible non - availability of insurance may make it more difficult for people to find a mortgage for properties in the affected area and may lead to current home owners in those areas feeling trapped. 

Those acting for prospective owners of such property need to keep a close eye on this development and to warn clients of the what is happening and how this could affect the future value of the property.    Looking more closely at environmental reports and assessing the risk of flooding will clearly be needed as will the requirement to report the risk if indentified to the lender.

Unless Government acts quickly to extend the current arrangement we could see a large number of transactions failing over the next 12 months. 

By David Pett Solicitor and Partner

Morgan Jones and Pett are solicitors who provide legal advice and services to clients based in England and Wales and who can be contacted on 01603877000 or via email at davidpett@m-j-p.co.uk

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