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What is The Risk to Property From Flooding?

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Flooding could seriously affect the value and amenity of your home or business premises.

A flood can threaten your safety, cause serious damage to your property and its relocation contents and can result in many months of and disruption.

A property can be flooded by:

  • Surface water flooding during heavy rain
  • Groundwater flooding
  • River flooding
  • Coastal flooding
  • A burst water main in the road outside the property
  • A burst water tank, water supply pipe, radiator, or drain within the building
  • Reservoir or dam failure.


How do I find out if my property, or a property I am thinking of buying is at risk of flooding?

We recommend that property owners and prospective purchasers should be aware of any flood risk to their property. The first check is to investigate whether your property is in a river or coastal flood risk area on the flood risk maps available on the Environment Agency’s website. They show areas at risk and whether there are adequate flood defences in place. The maps will give you a risk factor for your property based on its postcode as either low, moderate or significant.

These maps give a general guide on an area only and not specific information about individual properties. For a more accurate assessment of flood risk you can go to a specialist search provider who will provide you with a more detailed report about your property. This will determine their risk from the different types of flooding, including local groundwater and surface water flooding risks which are not included on the Environment Agency’s maps.

Prospective purchasers should check with sellers whether there have been any incidents of flooding to the property in the past. This is necessary as there may be issues about the property’s insurability for flood risk which may affect the property’s value and the ability to get a mortgage on it. You should obtain professional advice if you are worried about potential flooding in the future. A suitably-experience chartered surveyor will carry out a detailed survey on the likely impact of a flood on your property and contents, with recommendations of the steps to take to reduce or eliminate adverse effects should a flood occur.


How will the flood risk affect the value and insurability of my property?

The value of a property at risk from flood is less than that of a similar property that isn’t at risk. Flood risk will affect the value for two reasons. First is the impact of a flood on the continued use of the premises, the health and safety of the occupants and any consequential damage and disruption.

The second is obtaining building insurance cover for the property. If it is difficult to arrange cover it will affect the ability to arrange a mortgage for the property. As building insurance is so important in determining whether a property is mortgageable and therefore the market value of the property, owners and prospective purchasers are advised to verify this cover is provided and maintained by determining the property’s flood risk.

The reduction in value may range from negligible to severe, depending on the circumstances of the property’s location, situation, type of construction, and flood defences, both to the geographic area and to the property.

The impact on value can be reduced by ensuring better flood defences are in place and by increasing the flood resilience of the property and its contents.

Image: Howard Lake