Smith, Codey Bill to Require Prospective Homeowners and Renters to be Notified of Flood Risks Advances

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In consideration of New Jersey’s unique vulnerabilities to sea level rise, flooding events and saltwater intrusion, the Senate Environment and Energy Committee today advanced legislation sponsored by Senator Bob Smith and Senator Richard Codey that would require home sellers and landlords to notify prospective buyers and renters if a property of interest is at risk of being affected by flooding.

“For an uninsured homeowner a flood can be devastating, a single inch of flooding can cost homeowners and renters up to $25,000,” said Senator Smith (D-17). “We have seen storms in recent years cause catastrophic flood damage to homes, with residents sometimes unaware that they were living in a flood-prone area. Disclosing flood risk information during a real estate transaction is a timely and effective way to inform potential renters and homeowners of potential flooding risks so they may be better informed when deciding where to live.”

The bill, S-3110, would require the Department of Community Affairs to create a form used by realtors and landlords to notify prospective buyers or renters of flooding risks to the property before they become obligated under any contract. The form would indicate if any of the property is located in a Federal Emergency Management Agency designated floodplain, a Special Flood Hazard Area or a Risk Flood Hazard Area and if the property has ever experienced any flood damage in the past.

“Dealing with the aftermath of a flood can be an extremely distressing situation for homeowners and renters,” said Senator Codey (D-27). “The damage caused by floods can bring irreplaceable damage to valuable items and it is critical that residents are aware of their perceived risk of flooding prior to it occurring. This bill would save lives and money by putting in place important consumer protections, ensuring that residents are aware that their home may flood before a big storm hits the State.”

The bill was released from the committee by a vote of 5-0.

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