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Sellers must provide flood history

With the statement of principles due to end in July and the recent publication of the flood practice note, not only is it more important than ever that your clients address the risk of flooding, but the updated Law Society Property Information Form (TA6) now places the onus on the seller to provide more detailed information on flooding.

The flood questions in the old Property Information Form were less specific and as a result, vague and even misleading answers were sometimes given. For example, one property owner in Twickenham, London answered no to the question "Are you aware of any flooding at your property since you have owned it or before?" because although the garden flooded but the house didn't. They were later successfully sued by the purchaser.

The updated Property Information Form asks direct questions, thus reducing the risk of a misleading answer. For example:

"Has any part of the property (whether buildings or surrounding garden or land) ever been flooded?  If yes, please state when the flooding occurred and identify the parts that were flooded.

Where a property has previously been flooded, sellers are also now required to select the type of flooding - ground water, sewer, surface water, coastal, river or other - and to state whether a flood risk report has been prepared.

The direct questions in the updated Property Information Form clearly require more objective answers, which can only be provided by flood risk reports. Not by just looking at the Environment Agency website which was previously suggested.

Fortunately, desktop flood reports, such as Landmark Flood / Groundsure Flood and commercial desktop flood reports are available from Source for Searches, starting from £25 plus when you order any of our products online you will be alerted to any potential risk of flooding at the location, meaning you can act on this immediately to quantify this risk for your clients.