The essence of the Practice Note on Flood Risk (issued May 2013) is that, when acting for a prospective buyer or lender, solicitors should raise the issue of flood risk and, if appropriate, make further investigations. A flood report includes a more thorough level of information and assessment than most environmental reports, and therefore provides a greater level of protection for all involved in the transaction.
The value of a flood report over a standard environmental report however, is not always clear to those acting on behalf of the homebuyer or lender. Search reports use a variety of different datasets and include varying levels of assessment and advice, this can make it difficult to select the best option for the client. At Geodesys we are often asked about the value of ordering an additional flood report when some flooding information is already contained in environmental reports.
In answering this question, the first thing to point out is that all environmental reports are slightly different so it’s always worth checking on the datasets that are included. Our best-selling environmental reports are Landmark Envirosearch and Homecheck Professional Environmental. Both of these searches include some information on flooding including JBA flood data, maps with river / tidal detail and surface water risk levels and they both flag up where the property is at risk of flooding.
What neither report includes, however, is a complete professional flood risk assessment. The Homecheck Professional Flood Report provides you as part of a number of benefits detailed below:
- A “professional opinion”: This assesses the multiple factors contributing to flood risk removes the need for a solicitor to try and interpret these for the client. For example, a property-specific professional opinion may provide a “pass” on a property in areas previously blighted by flood and perceived as being “at risk” by insurers.
- Flood risk assessment: Reviews the five types of flooding that contribute to overall flood risk – these are river, coastal, groundwater, surface and other flooding.
- An insurability statement: This is really important as a lack of affordable insurance can impact on availability of a mortgage and future value. The insurance statement confirms whether the property is likely to be insurable at standard terms.
- Recommendations – Advice what to do if there is flood risk, including flood resilience measures where risk is identified. (an assessment of “further action” does not need to be a deal-breaker).
Geodesys website customers can get an instant indication of whether a flood report is recommended on a specific property – this happens automatically via our Search Alert tool once property address details are entered on the site.
The Homecheck Professional Flood report is available from us at a cost of £20.00 + VAT.
If you would like further information (including fact sheets to pass to your client) on flood risk and flood reports, please contact our Customer Services Team on 0800 085 8050.