10 December 2013 by Sonal Ghelani

It never rains but it pours!

As from 3rd December 2013, the Environment Agency will make official maps showing areas at risk of surface water flooding by post code available on its website. Where there is a risk it will be shown as high, medium or low. The maps are however not property specific. Approximately 3.8 million homes in England and Wales are at risk of surface water flooding which is usually caused when there are heavy downpours and the drains become blocked as they cannot cope with the excess water.

In a review of the causes of flooding following the exceptional rainfall in the summer of 2007 it was identified that surface water flooding was one of the primary causes. The damage caused cost in excess of 3 billion pounds.

On the 1st October 2008 permitted rights allowing property owners to change their front gardens to hard standing without planning permission were changed due to the impact this type of work has had on flooding and the pollution of watercourses. Planning permission will not be required for a new or replacement driveway that uses permeable (porous) surfacing such as gravel, permeable concrete, block paving or porous asphalt, or if the rainwater is directed to a lawn or border to drain naturally. This is because such surfaces allow water to be soaked through the permeable surface to the ground below.

Insurance companies are likely to use the official maps before providing quotes, which will inevitably lead to some homeowners in high risk areas finding it difficult to obtain affordable insurance for their homes. The Association of British Insurers and the Government are working on a ‘not for profit scheme’ known as Flood Re, the purpose of which would be to ensure flood insurance is widely available and affordable to properties in high flood risk areas.

This new scheme will provide a fund to offer people with properties at high flood risk a set price on their cover. Insurers will put into the fund those high risk properties that they are unable to insure and the premium for the flood risk part of the premium would be capped. The money from the capped premium would go into the fund, from which payment would be made for any flood claims. The cap will be based on the Council tax bands starting at no more than £210 per annum in Bands A and B and rising to £540 per annum in Band G. In order to fund this there will also be a levy of approximately £10.50 a year on all home insurance policies. The scheme is expected to start in 2015.

A property that is in the highest Council Tax band H in England, and the equivalent in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will not be covered by the scheme. Also homes that are built after 1 January 2009 will not be covered.

You should be aware that if a property is at risk of flooding, this could affect your ability to obtain a mortgage, suitable insurance or even sell the property – which could potentially affect its value. Before you proceed with a transaction you should obtain as much information as you can and make sure that you will be able to obtain suitable insurance that is also compliant with your lender’s requirements before you commit to an exchange of contracts.

A lender is likely to investigate the potential flood risk as part of their valuation process. These may all be factors which assist you in your decision to proceed with a transaction. We as solicitors are not qualified to give advice on flood risk or interpret technical flood reports, but we can request further information and provide guidance on the best way to deal with any issues that may arise.

If you require any further advice regarding the purchase or sale of a property, please contact Sonal Ghelani on 020 7288 4705 or email sonalghelani@boltburdon.co.uk.

20 November 2013 by

Two Degrees Of Separation Consequential Loss in the context of Mis Sold Interest Rate

The Financial Conduct Authority announced yesterday that that the progress being made in the Review Scheme set up to deal with the many thousands of claims arising out of mis-sold interest rate derivatives to small and medium sized companies is “slower than expected” and is leading to continued “customer frustration”.

29 November 2013 by

Keep your friends close, but your attorneys closer

Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) are supposed to protect the interests of people who cannot handle their own finances.

Signup To Our Weekly e-News

"*" indicates required fields

We’ll never share your details with any third party in line with our privacy policy.