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For in-depth analysis of flood risks on a property, you may want to check the flood risk indicator results on your property. This is a report specific to the property, obtainable from the Land Registry for £9.
A flood risk indicator result will reveal:
· Which flooding zones your property may fall under – e.g. if it is built on flood plains or falls within an area that regularly floods
· The likelihood of your property flooding – This is a textual indicator and will be presented as low, medium or high risk in your report.
· How this information was found and finalised – The document should reveal the date of the data used and where the data is from (most likely the Environmental Agency and Natural Resources).
You may want to check flood risk maps, speak to locals in the area or even talk to a flood risk consultant.
Before obtaining a report, you may also want to check first for the obvious signs of flooding or flood risk. Check if the house you want to buy is near a river, stream, lake or any body of water.
Different government agencies issue flood maps with warnings and information on where areas prone to flooding are, depending on where you live.
England and Wales: The Environment Agency issues flood risk maps.
Scotland: Scottish Environment Protection Agency issues a selection of maps with areas prone to flooding
Northern Ireland: The Department of the Environment issues an interactive map viewer.
As useful as online flood maps can be, they don’t always account for individual homes. Speak with the owners of neighbouring houses to find out if there had been any previous incidents that might not show up on a map. If that fails, you can always try looking at local council records!
One of the first things you should do is ask your estate agent if your area is prone to risks like flooding. A good estate agent will find out from the seller if there is anything about the property that will affect the buyer’s decision to purchase it, and tell you.
If you have checked the flood risk maps, consulted the locals and still have questions, you can always ask a professional flood risk consultant. This can cost a few hundred pounds, but they will give you an extensive and accurate indication of:
If after doing your research you decide to go ahead with purchasing a house in a high-risk area, you should definitely get good flood insurance before signing.
Home insurance will be more expensive in flood risk areas, but the alternative cost of repairs will be far more expensive to deal with.
There are even government flood insurance schemes to help make the cover more affordable, too. In general, your location and the value of the property will determine how much you pay.
So, to avoid any nasty surprises, do your research and look up the area your property is in on the flood maps mentioned above, to determine if your property is at risk. If you still want to buy it despite the risk, make sure you have adequate flood insurance.