In the last few months’ news channels and social media have been awash with the images of overwhelming flooding in local areas such as Bentley and Fishlake. This can be devastating for homeowners and businesses alike, especially those who are not aware that they are at risk from flooding and have not put any prevention methods in place. When choosing a property for your home or business, it is important to be aware of the flood risks that may affect the property and factor this into your decision to proceed.
When purchasing or renting a property either as your home or for business purposes, your solicitor will ask you if you wish for some standard property searches to be done; one of these will be an environmental and drainage search. These searches will highlight if the property is in an area that is likely to flood from river, surface or ground water or is in an area which has suffered from historic flooding. It is therefore important that these searches are carried out to ensure that you are fully aware of any flood risks that may affect the property
Whether or not a search reveals that the property is at risk of flooding your solicitor will raise standard enquiries with the seller to confirm whether or not they are aware of any previous flooding at the property. However, it is a good idea to let your solicitor know if you become aware of any history of flooding at the property.
If you do become aware that the property is at risk of flooding, what further steps can you take to minimise the negative repercussions for you or your business?
- You can make additional enquiries with the Seller or Landlord or the environmental agency and local authority to see what precautions have been taken to prevent further flooding.
- You can check with your insurers or your Landlords insurers that flood risk insurance is available and carefully check any exclusions or excesses.
- If you are taking a lease of the property you can ensure that your Landlord has adequate insurance in place and that the Lease contains rent suspension provisions in the event that the property cannot be used due to flood damage and that the Landlord is obliged to reinstate the property.
- As an additional precaution in a lease you can also consider a specific break clause in the event of flooding, however this will not take into account the impact of relocation of your business.
- You can decide not to proceed with the purchase or letting of the property if the risk is too great.
Get in touch with a solicitor to ensure that you get advice on searches and flooding risks to your property by contacting our commercial property department on 01302 965251.