Posted On / 13.01.2014

Ensure you Understand Flood Risk Before it’s Too Late

Ensure you Understand Flood Risk Before it’s Too Late

With householders across Dorset coping with floods or worried that they may be next, what can you realistically do to understand flood risk when you are looking at a property?  

This winter’s flooding comes as the government and the insurance industry continue to finalise a long-term cross-subsidy agreement for policy holders facing significant likelihood of flooding.  

If there is no agreement, the worst case scenario is that a homeowner will be unable to obtain insurance. That may impact on the use and value of the property and could even rule out securing a mortgage.  

It is important for people to recognise that while insurers can help to manage the financial risk of flooding, they do not control the level of the physical risk itself. For that, you need a detailed flood search. Many conventional law firms tend to only carry out very limited flood searches, if any. The time has come to look in far more detail.

Prospective owners and tenants who are worried about flooding should demand that their legal consultants do a full flood search as part of standard due diligence. This way they will highlight any potential issues sooner rather than later.  

In addition many home owners who live alongside a river or other watercourse are often unaware or simply do not understand their responsibilities for the maintenance of the river bed or bank. Poor maintenance can result in erosion and sediment deposits which could lead to a build up of flood water and the river bursting it banks. It is important that prospective owners ask that riparian rights and responsibilities are explained to them by their legal consultant.  

Increased flooding is bound to have an impact on the use and costs of both residential and commercial properties. Hard choices are being made at government level about where and how much to spend on flood defences. The more informed people are about their own properties, the better.  

For more information regarding the buying and selling of property, contact me, Sarah Ford or our property expert team on 01305 250560. Battens is a Legal 500 firm with offices in Yeovil, Sherborne, Dorchester and Weymouth.