Solicitors involved in property transactions will have to deal with increased flood risks in the future, affecting the saleability of homes, according to the profession’s trade body.
In its guidelines for law professionals who are working with homeowners on flood risks, the Law Society describes understanding the subject as “essential”, both physically and commercially.
It adds, “Not having the same degree of risk insight as your future insurer or lender may have significant commercial consequences.”
According to the Environment Agency, as many as one in six British homes are at risk of flooding and this can cause several problems – not just in the short-term with regards to loss or damage of possessions, but also on a longer-term financial basis.
The Law Society says, “In addition to the immediate impact flooding causes with regard to human life, property and possessions, the longer term issues of community disruption and dislocation, business interruption, stock loss and permanent structural damage to buildings can cause widespread misery and cost.
“Whilst insurance may in some instance provide a partial solution the wider issues include the potential withdrawal of insurance moving forward and lenders refusing to provide mortgages for properties known to be at risk.”
The Practice Note on Flood Risk, published by the Law Society, highlights three main issues for clients whose home is at risk of flooding: obtaining a mortgage, obtaining suitable insurance cover and selling the property.
The guidelines aim to provide solicitors with the knowledge to help clients “investigate the terms on which buildings insurance cover, including flood risk, is available, prior to their entering into contractual commitments”.
Dan Montagnani, director of environmental risk analysts GroundSure recently told Blue & Green Tomorrow that obtaining a flood risk report prior to buying a property was vital in preventing future losses.