Are Florida Homeowners Required to Disclose Flood Damage When Selling a Home?

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Flooding from Hurricane Ian left almost everything Polly Joy owned in ruins.

“As you can see there, it’s starting to get moldy,” she said as she showed us around her Kissimmee home.

When Joy bought her house in 1995, she says she was never told of a flood risk. “I don’t remember them ever saying anything about it being a flood zone,” she said.

His neighbor, Jaime Rosario, whom we met a few doors down, said he didn’t know the risks either. “If I had known, I wouldn’t have bought it,” Rosario added.

After contacting several agencies, FOX 35 News has learned that Florida does not require any disclosure of past flood damage from a homebuyer. Just this summer, FEMA released a report showing how states stack up on flood hazard disclosure requirements.

“In the State of Florida, there is no legal or regulatory requirement for a seller to disclose flood damage to a property to a homebuyer. And that’s a huge problem, especially considering the amount of flooding that’s happening in the state,” says Joel Scata.

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Scata is senior counsel at the Natural Resources Defense Council. He compiled data on flood disclosure requirements across the country and is now pushing for changes at the state and federal levels.

“Homebuyers should have the right to know if a property they are about to buy has ever flooded, because a property that has flooded once is likely to flood again,” added Scata and encourages potential buyers to do their research and ask a lot. of questions. “Ask the seller if the property has ever been flooded – ask if there have been any flooding issues or if you have flood insurance. How much do you pay for flood insurance?”

Orlando Regional Realtor Association President Tansey Soderstrom told FOX 35 News, “When you work with your realtor and make an offer on a property, you’re going to have your home inspected, so the inspection of your home will let you know if it was wet or had water damage, they would see it.”

For more resources, there is the FEMA Flood Map Service Center where you can find regulated floodplain data. Individual counties also provide Geographic Information System mapping.

Through the Osceola County website, we discovered that Polly’s house was in a high-risk flood zone. She says: “They should disclose this because honestly no one would buy a house that they knew was going to be flooded.”

If you are a victim of a hurricane and need assistance, Florida Realtors offers these additional resources.

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