N.Y. (WETM) — New legislation that requires home sellers to be transparent about flood risks has gone into effect in New York State.
The new legislation, which was signed into law on Sept. 22, amends the Property Condition Disclosure Statement. All home sellers in New York State are required to fill out the statement with information about the residential property they are selling. Now, the statement asks for details about flood risks.
“Too many homeowners learn of their property’s propensity to flood only after suffering through multiple disasters. That’s why New York State’s decision to disclose these risks is so important,” said Natural Resources Defense Council Attorney for Water Initiatives Joel Scata. “This bill goes a long way towards helping give home buyers the information they need to make informed decisions about one of the biggest financial investments of their lives — their home.”
Before the new legislation, home sellers in New York State were required to notify buyers about potential hazards in the home, including the presence of asbestos, lead plumbing, and hazardous waste. However, sellers were not required to disclose if the property was at risk for flooding. Instead, sellers could opt to give the buyer a $500 credit at closing and waive the flood disclosure requirement.
The new legislation gets rid of the opt-out option and requires sellers to provide detailed information about the property’s flood risk. Now, sellers have to inform buyers if the property is in a FEMA floodplain, a special flood hazard area, or a moderate-risk flood hazard area. Sellers must also inform buyers if the property is required by law to have flood insurance if the owner or previous owners filed a flood damage claim, and if the owner or previous owners received government assistance for flooding.
Those who would like to learn more about what risks must be disclosed when selling a residential property can read Senate Bill S5400 on the New York State Senate’s website.