New Yorkers Now Protected with Home Flooding History Disclosure

A large pile of debris and damaged building materials sits on the street in front of a house

A resident removes debris from their home after heavy rains of Tropical Cyclone Ida flooded a neighborhood in Queens, New York City.


K.C. Wilsey/FEMA

New York home buyers now have the right to know a property’s flood history and risk. On March 20, a new law went into effect which requires sellers to disclose to potential buyers any flood issues with their home, such as flood hazard areas, any flood damage, and if flood insurance is required on the property. With the adoption of this new law, New York is now a national leader on flood disclosure.

New York buyers will now be provided with a Property Condition Disclosure Statement, which contains the flood-related disclosure questions and others about the condition of a property. Until this new law went into effect, New York was essentially a “buyer beware” state. New York had a loophole through which an owner could opt-out of disclosure by paying a $500 fee, and eight out of ten sellers used this provision to avoid disclosure entirely by simply paying the fee and buyers had no recourse. Under the new law, buyers have a right to disclosure.

And real estate disclosures are an important tool for risk communication. These laws require sellers to disclose certain information about the property they're selling, such as known defects, environmental hazards, or any other material facts that could affect the value or desirability of the property. For buyers, this means they can make more informed decisions. By having access to relevant information upfront, buyers can avoid unpleasant surprises after closing, potentially saving them from costly repairs. For example, disclosing flood risk holds immense benefits. Transparency about flood risk enables informed decision-making, empowering individuals to take proactive measures to mitigate potential damages. By understanding the extent of flood risk in a particular area, homeowners can make informed choices about property investments, insurance coverage, and disaster preparedness plans. 

Further, real estate disclosures are powerful, helpful tools that go beyond home inspections, which can only demonstrate readily accessible and visible defects and risks associated with a property.  Flood defects known by a seller, even if repaired, are now required to be disclosed to potential buyers. 

Given purchasing a home is typically the biggest financial investment a person will make in their lifetime, it is critical that home buyers know of any conditions that could affect the longevity of their homes. As such, buyers should not waive their right to disclosure, even if asked to do so by the seller or your real estate agent. As a buyer, you deserve to know what you are purchasing so you can make an informed decision about how to best protect your family and your investment.

New York home buyers should take full advantage of their new right and ensure they receive the Property Condition Disclosure Statement. 


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