Storm Barney is staring to blow it's way across Britain, but ever since the terrible flooding that hit the country in 2013/2014, every sign of heavy rainfall is a red alert for residents of some towns.
Recent data from the Environment Agency shows that around 2.4 million properties are at risk of flooding and in order to prevent any more families from suffering like so many did a few years ago, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) have called for transparent information about a property’s flood risk to be displayed on all information about any property when it is put up for sale.
Current data is available on the Environment Agency website, although this is rarely communicated by many estate agents or sellers. In a survey of over 2000 adults by the ABI, nine out of ten people agreed that an up-front traffic light system, telling buyers whether the property is in a red ‘danger zone’ or a green ‘safe zone’ would be the best way to clearly inform people about the property that they are potentially looking to buy.
In addition to clearer sales marketing, the ABI are campaigning to the government for a cross party consensus on long term solutions to manage national flood risk, and coordinate national and local strategies and defences. They are advising the government that £1 billion a year must be allocated to flood funding by 2025 in order to ensure that maintenance funding keeps pace with the demands of climate change.
It may seem that flooding is a force of nature that you have no chance against, and if your property is in a flood zone, protection is in the hands of local flood defences. However, there are certain things you can do to make you home far more resilient against flooding.
- Lay ceramic tiles on the ground floor and using large rungs instead of fitted carpets – as soon as there is a suggestion of water ingress, you can take up the rug and move it to a safe location
- If you can, consider moving your electrical sockets to waist-height instead of having them positioned low. In many new build properties this is common practise as it makes them accessible for people with limited movement.
- Consider a stainless steel kitchen instead of using chipboard carcasses. Many high-end modern properties now go for the industrial look, so a stainless steel kitchen could tick the boxes for practicality and style. Alternatively, consider free-standing units that can be emptied and moved, so they can be mover out of harm’s way should the need arise.
- Make sure that all vital parts of your heating systems are well about ground level. Consider installing your boiler on the first floor, for example, so should your ground floor face flooding, your expensive boiler is kept dry.
- If possible, look into replacing wooden framed windows and doors with UPVC – plastic will create a far tighter seal, and won’t be damaged if it’s exposed to standing water for long periods.
If you are planning to rent a property that is in a flood zone, it is wise to equip tenants with a guide on what to do should the worst case scenario arise.
Providing them with a ‘Flood Plan’ will not only help make their experience less traumatic, but will also potentially minimise damage to your property.
- Consider supplying your contact number, you do not legally have to do this but in this instance it would be wise to be aware of what is going on.
- Make sure your tenants know how to safely turn off the electricity and gas supply to the property
- Consider contacting your tenants when flood warnings are issued to see if they need any assistance getting hold of sandbags
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