Do you know if your home ever had flood damage? This new law will require flood disclosure

This may contain: a kitchen floor that has been flooded with water

Do you know if your home has ever flooded? Some Florida homeowners may know the answer to this question, but the majority likely don’t. That’s because despite having the highest risk of flooding in the U.S., sellers aren’t required to disclose this information.

But a new bill headed to Gov. Ron DeSantis’s desk could change that – at least to a degree.

Rep. Christine Hunschofsky, D-Parkland, the bill’s sponsor (HB 1049), has received bipartisan support. And though the bill’s current iteration isn’t as strong as when it was first introduced, supporters say that passing the bill would be a good first step.

Here is what to know about HB 1049.

Do you have to disclose flood damage when selling a home in Florida?

Under current Florida law, a homeowner isn’t required to tell buyers about a property’s flood history or risk. Sellers have the opportunity to disclose anything a buyer should know, and they can provide a voluntary flood disclosure form, but all of this is strictly optional.

How does HB 1049 change Florida’s flood disclosure laws?

Well, first and foremost, it creates them. Florida HB 1049 would create Section 689.302 in Florida Statutes, which would require sellers complete and provide a flood disclosure to a purchaser of residential real property at or before the time the sales contract is executed.

The form would also include the following disclosure:

“Flood Insurance: Homeowners’ insurance policies do not include coverage for damage resulting from floods. Buyer is encouraged to discuss the need to purchase separate flood insurance with the Buyer’s insurance agent.

Seller has or has not filed a claim with an insurance provider relating to flood damage on the property, including, but not limited to, a claim with the National Flood Insurance Program.

Sell has or has not received federal assistance for flood damage to the property, including, but not limited to, assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.”

What is considered flood damage?

What is and isn’t considered flood damage can be tricky to understand, especially in a catastrophic hurricane where compounded damage can easily blur the lines. Here is how the bill outlines flooding:

  • The overflow of inland or tidal waters.
  • The unusual and rapid accumulation of runoff or surface waters from any established water source, such as a river, stream or drainage ditch.

Sustained periods of standing water resulting from rainfall.

What do you have to disclose when selling a home in Florida?

Under Florida law, sellers must make the following disclosures, where applicable:

  • Associations – A seller of property in a condominium, cooperative or homeowners’ association must make specific disclosures of information related to the association.
  • Coastal – A sale of a property located partially or totally seaward of the coastal construction control line requires a written disclosure statement at the time of contract.
  • Code enforcement – If a code enforcement proceeding is pending at the time of sale, the seller must disclose it to the buyer.
  • Lead paint – Federal law requires all sellers or landlords of residential real property built before 1978 to disclose any known information concerning potential lead-based paint hazards and available records.
  • Property tax – The seller must disclose that a transfer of ownership may lead to an increased property tax assessment related to the Save Our Homes Amendment.
  • Radon gas – A specific disclosure relating to the risks of radon gas must be made in writing in connection with the sale of any building.
  • Sewer lines – The seller must disclose known defects in the property’s sanitary sewer lateral line.

What states don’t have flood disclosure laws?

According to the National Resources Defense Council, a national environmental advocacy group, the following states have at least some form of flood disclosure law.

  • Alaska
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

That leaves out the following states:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Kansas
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • New Mexico
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming

 

Article source: Flood damage disclosure could soon be required in Florida home sales (pnj.com)