Calls to make it mandatory to disclose home flood history is gaining traction, as other states implement new laws to protect home buyers and Florida does not.
According to several news outlets, Texas has recently joined other states in requiring home sellers to disclose past flooding when marketing their house. Sellers must tell potential buyers if the home has ever flooded or if it’s in a flood pool.
However, this is not the case in Florida. And because of this, many buyers are purchasing homes without truly knowing the risk they are about to take.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, one woman’s new home suffered more than $100,000 in flood damage after Hurricane Irma. It was not long before she got a letter from the insurance company that stated this was her home’s fourth reported flood of over $5,000 in damage.
Her options now included elevating the home, selling it, or tearing it down.
“I never would have bought this house if I knew it had the flood history it had. I probably wouldn’t have bought it if I knew it had one flood,” she told the news site.
“If I had known what was going to happen no way on earth I would have gone near this house.”
Insurance law firm Alonso Perez LLP says Florida is one of a handful of states in which sellers are not forced to report the flooding history of a home, despite Florida's penchant for being a higher flood risk.
“Floridians may wish to review a voluntary Florida seller disclosure form provided by the Florida Realtors Association when disclosing floods,” the firm said in a statement.
“A website called MyFloodRisk.org also provides helpful information showing the flood risk of a property using data such as the elevation and flood areas of FEMA.”