Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, September 25, 2020

Green|spaces supports federal real estate flood disclosure requirement

Green|spaces is joining groups around the country in calling on congressional leadership to act on legislation that would create a federal flood risk disclosure requirement to protect families, renters and homebuyers.

At present, federal policy requires lenders – not sellers – to notify borrowers only if they are required to have flood insurance. Recent tools have made flood risk data more available, but the lack of standard disclosure laws and access creates misunderstanding and gaps in consumer awareness, says the Chattanooga-based nonprofit in a news release.

Disclosure laws already exist as a standard practice for property when it comes to lead paint; flood risk should be no different, green|spaces argues.

“The lack of standard information perpetuates confusion and creates significant financial damage for homebuyers caught unaware of their true flood risk,” the release continues. “For families living in 100-year floodplain, the likelihood of a flood occurring during the lifetime of a 30-year mortgage are roughly one in four.”

The problem is exacerbated for homebuyers and renters that might live outside mapped risk zones and might never be aware of their risk or past flooding on the property, the release states.

Michael Walton, executive director of green|spaces, says people selling homes in a state that requires disclosure of flooding, such as Tennessee, are at a disadvantage if their regional market includes states that don’t require disclosure, such as Georgia and Alabama.

“A federal requirement to disclose flooding would not only help protect homebuyers throughout the country, it would also level the playing field. We’d like to see the market reward sustainable, resilient development with all of the information necessary to do so,” Walton says.

Current disclosure-related legislation in Congress would ensure that homeowners, businesses and renters are provided with useful, timely information regarding flood risk any history of flooding or flooding damages known to a seller or lessor.

Walton adds, “At green|spaces, we help people and businesses take simple steps to improve their resilience and reduce their environmental impact, but it’s unlikely you would know to invest in things like green infrastructure if you don’t know flooding is a problem for the property to begin with.”

Read more at nfiportal.blob.core.windows.net/images/pdfs/state_support_federal_flood_disclosure.pdf.

Source: green|spaces