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New state policies protect future homebuyers from hidden risks: 'This is a person's home, and they should be warned'

"People deserve to know…"

"People deserve to know..."

Photo Credit: iStock

Four states recently passed legislation that will help future homebuyers make informed decisions about the threat of flooding.

In 2023, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, and South Carolina introduced new policies that will give prospective buyers increased access to information about flood risks and flood history, according to The Washington Post.

This means that people looking into buying property will automatically learn if that property has flood insurance as well as whether any flood claims have been filed in the past.

These changes will increase transparency about the risk of flooding for buyers before they finalize housing purchases. States with particularly notable flooding history such as Louisiana and Texas had already adopted similar practices before last year.

"This is a person's home, and they should be warned," New York State Assembly member Robert Carroll told the Post. "This is really about knowledge and proper warning."

"It's a recognition that flooding is only going to get worse and that they need to take action now to protect homebuyers and renters," said Joel Scata, an attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council. "It's also a recognition of the importance of transparency and fairness."

Flooding is, indeed, becoming a dangerous reality for many Americans as sea levels rise alongside global temperatures. 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA are among the agencies that estimate the country's coastlines will see an entire foot of rising sea levels by 2050, as reported by the Post. 

It's not a problem exclusive to the United States, either. Libya, Italy, and Pakistan have faced drastic flooding in the last two years alone.

"People can take steps to protect themselves when you give them the information they need," said Brooks Rainey Pearson, a legislative counsel for the Southern Environmental Law Center. 

"It matters, because with climate change we are seeing more frequent flooding events, including more intense storms and more flooding of houses. It's a huge investment for a family to make to buy a house. People deserve to know whether the house they are purchasing has flooded or could flood," Rainey Pearson added.

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