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Purchasing Property and Flood Risk

If you are considering purchasing a property or have recently moved, you may be unaware of the flood risk in the area. It is not always the case that estate agents or landlords inform buyers or tenants of a property’s flood risk, or they too may be unaware themselves. However, there are things you can do yourself to become more aware of potential flood risk.

One of the first things you should do when purchasing a property or as soon as you have moved in, is to check whether you are located close to a river. Even if the river doesn’t run immediately adjacent to your property, your property may still be situated on a river’s flood plain and therefore be at risk. If you do have a watercourse which runs on or adjacent to your property, our basic guide on owning and managing a watercourse outlines the roles and responsibilities you have as a watercourse owner.

There are different types of flooding which could affect you, therefore it is important to check your flood risk even if you aren’t located near to a river. You can check online on the Environment Agency’s website here. By entering your property number and postcode, you can find out whether your property is located in an area that is at low, medium or high risk of flooding.  The Environment Agency have also produced a long-term flood risk map ,where you can find out your flood risk from rivers, surface water and reservoirs.

Image: Environment Agency maps


It is also important to do some research into the area you would like to live or are relocating to and see whether it has a history of flooding. A common misconception that we come across is that if a one in 100 year flood event occurred in an area relatively recently, that it will not happen again for 99 years. This NOT the case as every year there is a chance of a 1 in 100 year flood happening. It is a good idea to ask other residents and business owners who have resided in the area for a number of years to see whether they can provide an insight into how often the area has flooded and from which type of flooding. Local people can often hold valuable local knowledge that an estate agent, council worker or agency worker may not have.

Often, the name of a house, street, village or town can provide a clue as to whether there may be a risk of flooding or a river, lake or reservoir nearby. Some of the examples we have come across are:

  • River Street
  • Waterside Mews
  • Riverside Way
  • Somerset
  • Gooseholme
  • Waterly Lane
  • Drakes Hollow
  • Kingfisher Crescent


what you should do if the property is at risk of flooding

If you do find that your property is at risk of flooding, do not panic, the best thing to do is to plan and prepare. There are a number of things you can do to make yourself and your home or business as resilient to flooding as possible:

  • Research the different flood resistance and resilience products there are and think about installing these. Information on the various different measures can be found in The Flood Hub’s ‘Property Flood Resilience booklet’ here. Do note that some resistance measures such as flood barriers which may affect the structure or appearance of the property may need the landlord’s permission before being installed.
  • Make a home or business flood plan. Guidance on how to produce a household flood plan can be found here and for a business, here.
  • If eligible, sign up for the Environment Agency’s flood alerts and warnings.
  • If you aren’t eligible, ensure that you have an alternative flood warning trigger in place which will act as a signal for you to put your flood plan into action.
  • Ensure that your insurance policy covers damage from flooding to your building and contents. When your insurance is due for renewal, enquire about the Flood Re scheme if you are a homeowner or tenant and the BIBA scheme if you are a business. These schemes help homeowners, tenants, landlords and business owners acquire affordable cover.
  • As well as adequate insurance, ensure that your business has measures in place to allow for business continuity should a flood event occur. This will minimise damage and losses and maintain your reputation.
  • Be aware that the local authority and relevant agencies are responsible for managing different types of flood risk and it is important to know who to report which type to.

For more advice on how to become more flood resilient, check out, which contains a wealth of information for homeowners, tenants, businesses, communities and landowners who are at risk of flooding.

Download our ‘Purchasing Property and Flood Risk’ resource here.




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