Estate agents should give buyers traffic light indicators, association says

Road closed and flood sign

Home buyers should be given more up-front information about a property’s flood risk, the ABI has said ahead of its biennial conference this week.

Nine out of 10 respondents to a Populus survey of 2,065 UK adults commissioned by the association agreed that flood risk information should be included in material about properties for sale.

The ABI said that at present, no property search websites include flood risk information for the location of properties they list.

The association also found a lack of flood risk information on brochures for new-build properties.

Ahead of the ABI’s biennial conference, which takes place on 3 November, director general Huw Evans has set out three key steps to improve home buyers’ flood risk awareness:

  • Estate agents and property search websites should automatically provide traffic-light style information indicating flood risk for the locations of the homes they list. This should be based on publicly available Environment Agency data.
  • Flood risk information should also be provided in the marketing for new build properties.
  • All solicitors and conveyancers need to follow the Law Society’s guidance to conduct specific searches for flood risk, and to arrange for an in-depth assessment by a technical expert if there is any flood risk to the property.

The ABI said the proposals are in line with a recommendation from the Pitt Review into the 2007 floods, that people buying a property should have access to up-front flood risk information.

The ABI is also publishing a new house hunters’ guide to advise people of the steps they should take in the meantime.

Evans said of the proposed traffic light system: “These simple warnings will help people go into the home buying process with their eyes open and knowing whether further investigations are necessary.

“We now want to work with estate agents, property websites and the Environment Agency to make this happen.”

Floods minister Rory Stewart added: “It is important that everyone has access the right information, including the flood risk in their area, so they can make fully informed decisions when buying a home.

“We are making more data and technology available to help people plan and prepare for potential floods, such as the Environment Agency’s free Flood Warnings Service and our advanced flood mapping and forecasting.”

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