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Lack of Flood Disclosure May Present Problems

There are few areas in the United States where you can buy a house with a higher chance of floods than the Florida coast. Sellers, on the other hand, don’t have to worry about it. Since the Sunshine State does not need disclosure about whether or not a property has ever flooded, it’s not something a seller is required to inform the buyer about. For buyers, on the other hand, the situation becomes much different.

According to a recently revised ranking by a New York-based non-profit advocacy organization, over twenty states have no laws forcing landowners to disclose a property’s flood history. Without disclosure, prospective homeowners are frequently unable to assess the true danger they may be unknowingly taking on. Homeowners often tend to be surprised years following a purchase because they had no idea their home was at risk of flooding.

Each year, flooding contributes to billions of dollars in damage in the United States, with many of the most expensive bills relating to homes built in flood-prone areas that are repeatedly destroyed.

Close to a third of Florida is in a high-risk environment, and that number is predicted to grow as sea levels rise due to climate change. However, this hasn’t stopped Florida from protecting its high-end and highly popular real estate sector. Even being conscious that a property is in a floodplain isn’t enough. Because of things like the design of the built environment—for example, if there is a sea wall or salt marsh nearby that might blunt a storm surge—each home has a specific danger.

Future homeowners should remain aware that flood insurance is typically an entirely separate policy from that of a homeowners’ insurance policy. It may be a wise idea to do the research and ensure that the property is not in a flood zone where flood insurance will be required.

For existing homeowners that may be running into roadblocks dealing with their insurer, our Miami insurance lawyer team is here to help.

This information is provided for educational or informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to substitute for legal advice.