Beginning this week, property owners selling coastal real estate in Hawaii are required by law to disclose the threat sea level rise flooding poses to a property. According to a State Department of Land and Natural Resources news release, real estate transactions involving properties located on or near the ocean must include the new disclosure. The new disclosure law is in addition to the National Flood Insurance Program’s requirement that sellers notify buyers that a property of interest is located near a flood-prone stream or area that may flood during heavy rainfall events.
According to an article posted on the Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers website, the new disclosure law is based on modeling performed by researchers at the University of Hawaii. They studied coastal areas at risk from flooding or other damage due to sea level rises, annual high wave flooding, or coastal erosion.
Properties built between current sea level and 3.2 feet of elevation — the potential sea level-driven high water mark at the end of this century — are subject to the new disclosure law. Buyers, sellers and real estate agents can use the state’s interactive map to determine if they’re inside the disclosure zone.
Due to the hodge-podge of state-level sellers disclosure laws, buyers and sellers should always check to see what’s mandated in their area to avoid costly lawsuits and/or purchasing property that’s prone to flooding.