Conveyancers need to carry out more flood searches to avoid accusations of negligence, as parts of the country face the threat of flood from melting snow.
Currently, too many conveyancers only recommend flood searches on properties that are traditionally seen as being at risk of flood – those built on floodplains or located near rivers, according to property search provider, SearchFlow.
Britain faces the risk of flooding, with much of the country having experienced up to 10cms of snow recently, as the cold weather comes to an end. January’s snow follows massive rainfall in December which left the water-table high and the ground saturated. The Environment Agency says there are currently 58 flood warning across the country – with a further 239 flood alerts.
Richard Hinton, business development director of SearchFlow said: “Conveyancers are accustomed to recommending flood searches on properties built near rivers or on flood plains. But the current threat of flood highlights that the danger can come from very different hazards – in this case saturated groundwater and thawing snow. This will affect people who haven’t traditionally had to worry about flooding. Conveyancers need to bear this in mind if they want to avoid accusations of negligence in the future. There is a need for much more due diligence in the worst hit areas – especially Wales.”
PERCENTAGE OF PROPERTY TRANSACTIONS INCLUDING A FLOOD SEARCH, BY REGION
London — 35%
South West — 21%
South East — 20%
West Midlands — 19%
East of England — 18%
Yorkshire & The Humber — 12%
Wales — 11%
North West — 10%
East Midlands — 8%
North East — 6%
The situation is particularly serious in Wales. While only 11% of property transactions in the Wales have included a flood search in the conveyancing searches, yesterday, the Environment Agency announced flood alerts for Neath Port Talbot, Bridgend, Vale of Glamorgan, Rhondda Cynon Taff, Merthyr Tydfil, Caerphilly, Blaenau Gwent, and Torfaen saying flooding is expected, that residents should be prepared, remain vigilant, and take precautions where possible. Flood alerts were also in place for Gwynedd, Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire, Wrexham, Powys, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, Swansea, Monmouthshire, Newport, and Cardiff.
Richard Hinton said: “While 35% of property transactions in London include a flood search – as the city has clearly been built on a flood plain and is obviously under threat of flood – it’s a different story elsewhere in the country. Only 11% of transactions in the Wales include flood searches.”