Local groups across the country, including 16 in Tennessee, are calling on congressional leadership to act on legislation that would create a federal flood risk disclosure requirement to protect families, renters and homebuyers.
Officials said, "At present federal policy requires lenders—and not sellers—to notify borrowers only if they are required to have flood insurance. Recent tools have made flood risk data more available yet, the lack of standard disclosure laws and access creates misunderstanding and gaps in consumer awareness.
Disclosure laws already exist as a standard practice for property when it comes to lead paint—flood risk should be no different.
"The lack of standard information perpetuates confusion and creates significant financial damage for homebuyers caught unaware of their true flood risk. 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 may live outside mapped risk zones and may never be aware of their risk or past flooding on the property."
Michael Walton, executive director of green|spaces stated, “People selling homes in a state that requires disclosure of flooding, like Tennessee, are at a disadvantage if their regional market includes states that don't require disclosure, like Georgia and Alabama. A federal requirement to disclose flooding would not only help protect home buyers 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.”
"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," officials said.
Mr. Walton added, "At green|spaces, we help people and businesses take simple steps to improve their resilience and reduce their environmental impact but it is unlikely you would know to invest in things like green infrastructure if you don't know that flooding is a problem for the property to begin with.