It’s no secret that flooding has been and continues to be a significant issue for many Virginians, whether you live in a coastal area or not. Local, state, and federal governments are taking a variety of approaches to tackle the issue, while homeowners and businesses take their own steps to mitigate potential damage.
One tactic that has been brought to the General Assembly for several years is a mandatory disclosure, requiring all home sellers to proactively disclose the flood risks of the property. The Virginia REALTORS® have opposed these efforts because of the unintended negative consequences of such a require. We maintain that concerns over accuracy of the information, liability on parties in the transaction, and the impact on local housing markets make this policy a bad deal.
Our efforts have focused more on consumer awareness, encouraging potential buyers to seek out accurate information and advice from experts.
This year, the Virginia REALTORS® partnered with Senator Lynwood Lewis of Accomac to introduce SB 1389 to boost consumer awareness on flooding issues. Under the legislation, Virginia REALTORS® will work with the Department of Occupational and Professional Regulation to provide flood risk and flood insurance information publicly available on DPOR’s website. Additionally, the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation will enable its Virginia Flood Risk Information System website to print off a map of a property and its flood zone designation. We believe these simple steps will provide potential buyers with important information to guide them in their purchase of a home.
One other provision of the legislation that is a slight departure of our previous policy stance is a limited mandatory seller disclosure. This disclosure will be limited to situations where the seller has actual knowledge that the property is designated as a “repetitive risk loss” structure under FEMA. Repetitive risk loss means that two or more claims of more than $1,000 were paid on that property by the National Flood Insurance Program within any rolling 10-year period since 1978. We believe it is important for potential buyers to know this information since NFIP premiums for these properties can cost homeowners several thousands of dollars each year.
SB 1289 passed the Senate 39-0 and the House 94-5 and will be sent to the Governor for his consideration.
This is another example of where our team works on YOUR behalf to make good public policies for all Virginians. If you have questions or thoughts about our advocacy efforts, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.