State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

State Disclosure Laws Leave Homebuyers in the Dark About Flood Risks

By Dena Adler 

New research from Columbia’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) reveals that nearly half of states do not have regulatory or statutory requirements for sellers to disclose a property’s history of flood damages to a homebuyer. As a consequence, many homeowners may never learn their home is vulnerable to flooding until after they find their homes quite literally underwater—a risk that is increasing alongside sea level rise and more frequent and intense extreme weather events. Ironically enough this information may be readily available either from the seller or from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which keeps a record of flooding in all properties which receive insurance through its National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

Is your state one of the many that keep homebuyers in the dark about whether their new property is susceptible to flooding? The Sabin Center and NRDC reviewed all 50 states’ real estate disclosure laws to put together this interactive map identifying the robustness of each state’s requirements. Read more on the Sabin Center’s blog.

Map of flood disclosure laws.
Map of flood disclosure laws. Source: NRDC and Sabin Center for Climate Change Law

 

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