CHAPEL HILL, NC— The Southern Environmental Law Center today filed a petition the North Carolina Real Estate Commission should require sellers to disclose information about past flood damage to potential buyers on behalf of NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council), North Carolina Justice Center, MDC, North Carolina Disaster Recovery and Resiliency School, Robeson County Church and Community Center , and NC field. Providing buyers with this information will enable them to make fully informed decisions about the home they choose to buy, the risk of flooding at a property and investments they may want to make to reduce the risk of flooding. to speak
“It’s common sense to give North Carolinians the information they need to know if they need flood insurance before they buy a property,” said Brooks Rainey-Pearsonsenior attorney, Southern Environmental Law Center, representing the organizations before the commission. “The Real Estate Commission can help level the playing field for North Carolina homebuyers and make sure they know about the flood risks that come with a home.”
Currently, the Real Estate Commission only requires property sellers to disclose whether a home is in a flood plain or subject to a flood hazard. However, this vague language falls short of flood risk disclosure best practices because it does not share the information necessary for buyers to know a property’s flood history, including actual damage, cost of flood insurance, or whether previous owners ever federal have received disaster relief, in which case flood insurance is mandatory for all subsequent owners of the property. Other coastal states that experience similar exposure to floods and hurricanes, such as Louisiana and Texas, already ensure that homebuyers get information about a home’s flood history before purchase.
“A home that floods once is likely to be hit again, and buyers should have the right to know that information given how costly flooding can be to a homeowner,” said Joel Scatasenior attorney, NRDC. “Buying a home is probably the biggest investment in someone’s life – so it’s unfair that they don’t have the information they need to make the best possible choice.”
The Residential Real Estate Disclosure Act requires the North Carolina Real Estate Commission to develop a standard disclosure form to be used in residential real estate transactions. Today’s rulemaking petition to the North Carolina Real Estate Commission requests that it amend the mandatory disclosure form to require more explicit information about flood history and risk, adding much-needed transparency to real estate transactions.
A recent study found that unsuspecting homebuyers in North Carolina could incur tens of thousands of dollars in unexpected damages over the life of their mortgage due to the state’s lax disclosure requirements. An analysis by NRDC found that North Carolina has one of the weaker disclosure policies in the country when it comes to flooding. A 2022 FEMA analysis also found North Carolina’s disclosure requirements seriously lacking. These proposed disclosures enjoy bipartisan support, with more than 80% of North Carolinians across the political spectrum in favor of strengthening state disclosure requirements to ensure that homebuyers have adequate information about a property’s flood risks.
“Flood disclosures are essential in inland communities where potential buyers may not even think to ask about the real and substantial risk of flooding from hurricane-generated rain,” said Brittany Love, director of systemic programming at the Robeson County Church and Community Center in Lumberton, North Carolina.
The Southern Environmental Law Center is one of the country’s most powerful defenders of the environment, rooted in the South. With a long track record, SELC takes on the toughest environmental challenges in court, in government and in our communities to protect our region’s air, water, climate, wildlife, lands and people. Nonprofit and nonpartisan, the organization has a staff of 200, including more than 100 attorneys, and is headquartered in Charlottesville, Va., with offices in Asheville, Atlanta, Birmingham, Chapel Hill, Charleston, Nashville, Richmond and Washington, DC southern area. .org
NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) is an international non-profit 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, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT and Beijing. Visit us at http://www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.