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Buying a house in a flood risk area: What you should know
Mar 2019
 

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, one in six UK homes is at risk of flooding. Given Cornwall’s 700-kilometre coastline and the county’s considerable number of rivers and coastal estuaries, homebuyers should pay special attention to flood risk before committing to purchase a property in the area. Here are some factors to take into consideration.

                        

You can check a property’s flood risk rating

Before you put in an offer, visit the government’s flood risk website and type in the postcode of the property you are interested in. Areas are rated from ‘high’ to ‘very low’ risk, depending on their proximity to water and any history of flooding in the area. Just because a property is in a high-risk area does not mean that it will flood, however it is important to be aware of the additional costs and liabilities.

Buying a property in a high-risk area will affect your home insurance rates

If you’re thinking of buying a property that has been flooded in the past or is in a high-risk area, get insurance quotes as early as possible to avoid any nasty surprises. Some insurers will ask for an Insurance Related Request Letter, which involves getting a formal letter from the Environment Agency to confirm the flood risk. If the property was built before January 2009 and you are planning to live in it at least part-time, you may be eligible for assistance from Flood Re, a government-backed insurance scheme that helps homeowners at high flood risk by capping premiums.

You can take preventative measures to reduce flooding damage

If you decide to go ahead with your property purchase, there are measures you can take to minimise flooding damage, such as:

  • Avoid carpeting lower floor rooms (install stone floors or wooden floors instead).
  • Keep valuable items upstairs.
  • Ensure that you have plenty of sandbags available.
  • Fit non-return valves to drains to protect against flash floods.
  • Locate power points high up on walls rather than at floor level.

 Buying a house in a high-risk area isn’t necessarily a bad idea

Many houses in areas prone to flooding have never had any issues, and houses with incredible waterfront views often sell easily despite the higher flood risk. Be aware that as a seller, you are legally obligated to disclose any history of flooding in the property, including details of the damage caused, cost of repairs, and financial impact on insurance premiums. Keep written records that you can pass on should you decide to sell the property at a later date.

Whether you are buying or selling a property, Lillicrap Chilcott can offer expert advice and professional service. Contact us today for more information.