HIPs flood information ‘does not provide full picture’

With flood risk generally assessed in terms of 75-year, 100-year and 1000-year risks, there is every chance that a property could be at significant risk, without the current occupier having any knowledge of it – particularly in light of the fact that it is only recently that flood reports have started to be used more frequently as part of the conveyancing process.

Landmark, the UK’s leading provider of property, environmental and flood-risk information, said it was concerned about the accuracy of the latest addition to the HIP particularly in relation to the issue of flood-risk assessment.

James Sherwood-Rogers, Managing Director of Landmark Legal and Financial said: "It is a positive step to see that the PIQ has introduced the issue of flood risk into the report, however the outcome is reliant on the seller to provide accurate details about a property.

"In reality a seller may not know if a property has been flooded or in extreme cases they may not want to admit such an event. Many potential purchasers might be forgiven for thinking that the PIQ will provide them with a full flood assessment on a particular property, however the reality is that the report does not even scratch the surface into real flood-risk evaluation."

Furthermore the PIQ shows no differentiation between pluvial or domestic flooding and Landmark is concerned that a homeowner will be none-the-wiser regarding a specific property’s true risk of flooding after receiving the HIP.

Sherwood-Rogers said: "The PIQ does not specify what type of flooding a property has experienced; nor does it provide a definition for flood risk.

"For example, there is no differentiation in the report between a property that may have been flooded due to a faulty washing machine for example, or the more serious issue of a property being located in a potential flood risk area. With so many homes in the UK situated in a location at real threat from flooding, we would encourage all homebuyers to take proper precautions to determine a property’s flood risk."

The PIQ does direct homebuyers to the Environment Agency’s (EA) website to find out further details about flood risk, however, Landmark stresses that the EA data does not provide the full picture about flood risk.

Landmark has been first to market in producing the most comprehensive conveyancing-ready flood risk assessment report.

As well as information from the EA, Norwich Union, the British Geological Survey and loss adjustors’ data, the Homecheck Professional Flood Report now contains exclusive ground-breaking data on surface water run-off (pluvial) flooding and minor rivers that was reported by the Pitt Report of causing around 50% of the damage from the 2007 summer floods.

Sherwood-Rogers said: "A conveyancing-ready flood report like the Homecheck Flood Report should be purchased in every property transaction to determine the true risk of flooding against an individual property. Without this information, homeowners could potentially purchase a home that is at real risk from flooding."

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