NJ Votes to Disclose Flood History to Homebuyers and Renters

The flood-history transparency bill now heads to Governor Murphy’s desk.

TRENTON, NJ — Today the New Jersey legislature voted to require home sellers and landlords to disclose past flood damages to potential buyers and renters. Bill S3110/A4783 now heads to Governor Murphy’s desk for a signature. Currently, New Jersey does not require disclosure of flood history to home buyers and renters, which results in not enough flood insurance being purchased and costly out-of-pocket repairs.

2022 report showed that in New Jersey, an estimated 7,944 homes were purchased in 2021 that were previously flooded and the expected annual flood damages for these sold homes were estimated to be over $18 million. The same report showed that over the course of a 15-year mortgage the average expected damages to the previously flooded home equate to $25,175 and for a 30-year mortgage the damages equate to $50,351. Further, a recent study examining the cost of unrealized flood risks estimates that the US housing market is overvalued by approximately $200 billion, due to unaccounted flood risks.

“The failure to require disclosure of past flood damages is already costing New Jerseyans tens of thousands of dollars. This transparency is essential to ensure home buyers and renters can make an informed decision about how to best protect their families from flooding, especially in a coastal state, like New Jersey, where flooding is increasing due to climate change,” said Joel Scata, Senior Attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). “Governor Murphy must sign this bill to ensure that home buyers and renters are given clear and necessary information about a home’s flood history before purchase.”

“Home buyers and renters in New Jersey deserve to know the extent to which their property has flooded in the past and may flood in the future before they decide where to live. As we brace for the impacts of climate change, flood disclosure to residents is all the more imperative and enacting this legislation will safeguard their health, safety, and security. It's due time for our state to join the 29 others that mandate transparency on this issue," said Kimberley Irby, Policy Manager at New Jersey Future.

“Before renting or buying a home, knowing how a future home might flood is an important part of any decision making. With the increased threat of flooding from climate change, future homeowners and renters have a right to better understand and consider flood risks to the property. With the historic passage of S3110/A4783 today, New Jersey is closer to requiring disclosure of past and future flood risk to all buyers and renters across the Garden State,” said Cortney Koenig Worrall, President and CEO, Waterfront Alliance. “Thanks to the leadership of New Jersey's State Senate and Assembly, and the advocacy efforts of the Rise to Resilience Coalition, New Jersey is on its way to being a nationwide leader in climate communication, transparency, and awareness when it comes to residential flooding.” 

NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC. 

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