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Searches came back with flood risk, need advice

Hi,
We are in the final stages of our first house purchase and we have had the Homebuyers, the valuation and the mortgage all agreed.
We are about a week away and due to the solicitor’s slowness we have only just had the searches come back and it’s highlighted a flood risk.
We really don’t know what to make of it or how much to make of this.

What it says is –
There is a risk of river and surface water flooding identified within 25 metres of the centre of the property.
Which is a 1 in 75 year return.

There is a small brook about 400-500 meters away and our road doesn’t seem to be at the bottom of a hill from it.
The estate agent says that he has lived there in 31 years (the house is 30 years old) and there has never been any flooding in area.
I am pretty worried about the insurance and also if there will be problems when selling the house in the future.
With regards to the insurance, when obtaining quotes on the comparison sites it asks how close to water we are and if the house has ever been flooded, therefore I said 500m away and no to the flooding as I have been told it hasn’t.
Am I covered if there is a flood?
Another comparison said –


[FONT=&quot]Based on what you've told us, we think this property:[/FONT]
  • [FONT=&quot]Is built with brick walls[/FONT]
  • [FONT=&quot]Has a roof made of tile[/FONT]
  • [FONT=&quot]Has never shown signs of heave, landslip or subsidence[/FONT]
  • [FONT=&quot]Has not had underpinning or structural support[/FONT]
  • [FONT=&quot]Has never suffered from flooding[/FONT]
  • [FONT=&quot]Is not currently undergoing building work[/FONT]
  • [FONT=&quot]Has no significant cracks on the external walls[/FONT]
  • [FONT=&quot]Is more than 400 metres away from water[/FONT]
  • [FONT=&quot]Is not a listed property[/FONT]
  • [FONT=&quot]Is your main residence[/FONT]
  • [FONT=&quot]Is not for sale[/FONT]
So I think it has never been flooded and the site assuming this also, is everything above board and valid?
I may get a flood risk report done but I just wanted to hear from others who may be able to offer advice.
Cheers,
Al
«134

Comments

  • Southend1
    Southend1 Posts: 3,362 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Combo Breaker
    I have similar - my house is just over 250m away from a small brook. I am up a hill so no way this could be a flood risk even in a biblical flood! Some insurers ask is there water within 250m and others seem to ask for 400m or 500m. So one insurer I called refused to even insure me! And some come out more expensive than others depending on the question asked. But it's all a bit silly really as there's no way the brook could flood my house.

    I think as long as you answer the questions asked honestly then there won't be a problem.
  • ognum
    ognum Posts: 4,840 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    I have just bought a house which is at moderate flood risk, in fact it is the houses over the road which are closer to the river and lower than our property but are in the same postcode so check this.

    I went to two or three insurance brokers and got quotes, none were more expensive than if it had not been a flood risk but no online agents would give me a quote!

    Talk to the neighbours, don't believe the agent, I went to one house where the agent said that he had never heard of a house flooding. I then went onto another viewing and told the second agent I had just viewed that house and she told me it was a metre deep I water a few years ago!

    Flooding is worrying so check it out carefully!
  • steppevos
    steppevos Posts: 84 Forumite
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Have a look at the environmental agency's flood map: http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/homeandleisure/floods/31650.aspx
    It gives you some indication where flooding is expected, but I have seen much larger areas flooded than indicated on these maps. Even if the brook is some way away, problems with overflowing sewers into streets, gardens and properties can occur (when they can't discharge into the brook) and this isn't marked on these maps, because it is a different cause.
    If the flood risk has a return time of 75 years than the house you are purchasing has had a 50/50 change of getting flooding, except that with changes in climate this is changing and it is only more likely that flooding in general will be increasing (and currently risks will have gone up considerably compared to 30,15 years ago). Only an expert will be able to tell you what the risks and impact on this particular property could be.
    Before going ahead you want to be sure that you can insure the property and for which premium (have firm quotes which are location specific) and that you are happy with the potential flooding risk (are you prepared to be out of the property for 6 months? loose furniture? etc.).
    Good luck.
  • ognum wrote: »
    I have just bought a house which is at moderate flood risk, in fact it is the houses over the road which are closer to the river and lower than our property but are in the same postcode so check this.

    I went to two or three insurance brokers and got quotes, none were more expensive than if it had not been a flood risk but no online agents would give me a quote!

    Talk to the neighbours, don't believe the agent, I went to one house where the agent said that he had never heard of a house flooding. I then went onto another viewing and told the second agent I had just viewed that house and she told me it was a metre deep I water a few years ago!

    Flooding is worrying so check it out carefully!

    Thanks for the reply.
    How close is the river to you?
    The brook is 350m away from our house with a big field in between. There are houses along the end of our street which are way closer (its a long street).
    I have managed to get quotes online for £10 a month with the following info -
    How far away is the the house from water - 150m
    Has the property ever flooded due to an outside source - No (as I have been told it has not).
    So does this mean I dont need to worry?
  • Davesnave
    Davesnave Posts: 34,741 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Anniversary Photogenic First Post
    Remember, flooding doesn't have to come directly from watercourses. In extreme conditions, simple run-off can cause flooding, particularly if buildings etc. make it difficult for the water to get away.

    At my last house, we were 40m above the nearest river, but there was very slight incline in the cul de sac which led to our driveway. It wasn't something obvious. Only once in the 21years we lived there did rainwater come over the pavement and into our drive, but when it did, there was a torrent. Fortunately, the way we'd constructed a patio meant that the water was channelled away, but that was happy accident, not something we'd designed for this eventuality. :)
  • Tancred
    Tancred Posts: 1,424 Forumite
    edited 18 March 2013 at 1:20PM
    Hi,
    We are in the final stages of our first house purchase and we have had the Homebuyers, the valuation and the mortgage all agreed.
    We are about a week away and due to the solicitor’s slowness we have only just had the searches come back and it’s highlighted a flood risk.
    We really don’t know what to make of it or how much to make of this.

    What it says is –
    There is a risk of river and surface water flooding identified within 25 metres of the centre of the property.
    Which is a 1 in 75 year return.

    There is a small brook about 400-500 meters away and our road doesn’t seem to be at the bottom of a hill from it.
    The estate agent says that he has lived there in 31 years (the house is 30 years old) and there has never been any flooding in area.
    I am pretty worried about the insurance and also if there will be problems when selling the house in the future.
    With regards to the insurance, when obtaining quotes on the comparison sites it asks how close to water we are and if the house has ever been flooded, therefore I said 500m away and no to the flooding as I have been told it hasn’t.
    Am I covered if there is a flood?
    Another comparison said –


    [FONT=&quot]Based on what you've told us, we think this property:[/FONT]
    • [FONT=&quot]Is built with brick walls[/FONT]
    • [FONT=&quot]Has a roof made of tile[/FONT]
    • [FONT=&quot]Has never shown signs of heave, landslip or subsidence[/FONT]
    • [FONT=&quot]Has not had underpinning or structural support[/FONT]
    • [FONT=&quot]Has never suffered from flooding[/FONT]
    • [FONT=&quot]Is not currently undergoing building work[/FONT]
    • [FONT=&quot]Has no significant cracks on the external walls[/FONT]
    • [FONT=&quot]Is more than 400 metres away from water[/FONT]
    • [FONT=&quot]Is not a listed property[/FONT]
    • [FONT=&quot]Is your main residence[/FONT]
    • [FONT=&quot]Is not for sale[/FONT]
    So I think it has never been flooded and the site assuming this also, is everything above board and valid?
    I may get a flood risk report done but I just wanted to hear from others who may be able to offer advice.
    Cheers,
    Al

    Unnecessary panic. Do a search on Moneysupermarket and you should find enough insurers out there who will insure the house.
    If the house hasn't flooded in at least 50 years the risk is very small indeed and shouldn't be a factor.
  • Davesnave wrote: »
    Remember, flooding doesn't have to come directly from watercourses. In extreme conditions, simple run-off can cause flooding, particularly if buildings etc. make it difficult for the water to get away.

    At my last house, we were 40m above the nearest river, but there was very slight incline in the cul de sac which led to our driveway. It wasn't something obvious. Only once in the 21years we lived there did rainwater come over the pavement and into our drive, but when it did, there was a torrent. Fortunately, the way we'd constructed a patio meant that the water was channelled away, but that was happy accident, not something we'd designed for this eventuality. :)

    Cheers for this, its never been anything I would have thought about, but when you have to commit to something for 25yrs things change!
  • Thrugelmir
    Thrugelmir Posts: 89,546 Forumite
    Name Dropper Photogenic First Anniversary First Post
    Even when living on a hill. If there's a high concentration of rainfall in a short space of time. Then the water table will rise. Natural springs will pop up in the most unexpected places. So its more a question of what you can't see more than what you can.
  • Davesnave
    Davesnave Posts: 34,741 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Anniversary Photogenic First Post
    Cheers for this, its never been anything I would have thought about, but when you have to commit to something for 25yrs things change!

    Your original post mentioned surface water flooding and I thought back to our experience.

    Since then I've remembered that a place where I worked for 30+ years was in a more extreme situation and came very close to flooding a couple of times in that period. According to local lore, it had flooded once in the years between being built in 1953 and my starting to work there in 1974, so that could be a 1:75 type of risk.

    Had I realised the small risk, I'd still have gone ahead and bought my last house, but I would have made conscious changes to the landscaping to reduce it further. There are hundreds of thousands of similar properties, I'd imagine.

    As someone else has said, weather patterns are changing and we have a legacy of people paving over areas, increasing sudden run-off, so it pays to look at almost any house for risks of this kind.

    Thrugelmir's comment has really struck home here, as I now live on a ridge with no possibility of the house flooding.
    However, the extreme weather in 2012 still caught me out: a spring opened up, practically underneath a chicken shed I'd only recently erected, below the level where the house sits! :(
  • Thanks for all the replies.
    Having figured out how to use the environment agency flood risk map correctly now, it shows low risk when I click the area on the map.
    I suppose this is not as bad as I first feared!
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