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8 Fla. Groups Call On Congress To Support Real Estate Flood Disclosure Requirement

A man paddles a kayak near a flooded home after storm surge from Hurricane Irma pushed water into the low lying area.
A man paddles a kayak near a flooded home after storm surge from Hurricane Irma pushed water into the low lying area.

More than 130 groups across the country, including eight in Florida, are calling on Congress to create a federal flood risk disclosure requirement.

More than 130 groups across the country, including eight in Florida, are calling on Congress to create a federal flood risk disclosure requirement.

Federal policy does currently require lenders to notify borrowers, but only if they’re required to have flood insurance. 

“In this country, as a regular homeowner, you actually can’t get the flooding history of a property until you are the owner of that property. So if you live in a state with no flood disclosure laws, you’re really kind of making a financial decision to purchase a property based on incomplete information,” said Amanda Bryant, Director of Operations at My Flood Risk.

Twenty-nine states have some form of flood risk disclosure requirements.

“Florida, believe it or not, being the most flood prone state in the nation and having 40% of the flood insurance policies, has no flood disclosure law whatsoever,” Bryant said.

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In  a letter to Congress, well over a hundred organizations, including 1000 Friends of Florida, the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast, the Federal Association for Insurance Reform, the Florida Association of Counties, the Florida Floodplain Managers Association, the Florida Wildlife Federation and My Flood Risk, are calling on the federal government to make sure that homebuyers and renters are given more information regarding a property’s flood risk.

“Protecting families and keeping them informed on the risks associated with both past and future flood events is a national issue that requires a federal solution. It is time to end the costly and dangerous cycle of leaving families uninformed on the true issues associated with repeatedly flooded properties. Congress should take up and pass legislation requiring flood risk and history disclosure today,” said Bryant.

Legislation that has already been introduced in Congress would require the Federal Emergency Management Agency to develop a minimum national standard for flood disclosure in communities that participate in the National Flood Insurance Program.

In the absence of flood disclosure requirements, flood prediction mapping tools, like  this one from Flood Factorthis one from Climate Central or  MyFloodrisk.org, can help buyers and renters better understand a property’s flood risk.

Brendan Rivers can be reached at brivers@wjct.org, 904-358-6396 or on Twitter at @BrendanRivers.

Copyright 2020 WJCT News 89.9. To see more, visit WJCT News 89.9.