Flood risk

As many homeowners will confirm, a flooded property can be devastating. The short-term practical and emotional impact is significant but, longer term, a flood can mean that the property is difficult to sell or mortgage.

The potential for flooding may not always be obvious. Properties at risk need not be close to a river or the sea, or on low-lying ground.  The most common types of flooding are:

  • Surface water – when heavy rainfall overwhelms the drainage capacity of an area
  • Sewer – when sewers are overwhelmed by heavy rainfall or when they become blocked
  • Groundwater – when underground water levels rise above surface level. This is most likely to occur in low lying areas underlain by permeable rocks
  • River – when a watercourse cannot cope with the water draining into it from the surrounding land
  • Coastal – results from a combination of high tides, low lying land and, sometimes, stormy conditions

Localised private drainage failure - for example failure in the operation of soakaways – is the main reason for flood claims in the UK.

A property buyer must gather information about the potential for flooding from a number of sources, including ensuring that their conveyancer carries out appropriate searches, commissioning their own survey and carefully reading the Property Information Form provided by the seller. Buyers sometimes try to keep the cost of conveyancing down by declining searches such as an environmental search or flood risk report and by choosing not to have a survey of the property carried out. This could be a very costly mistake for any buyer to make.

To discuss this or any other property related matter, contact us.