Do Real Estate Sellers Have to Disclose Sea Level Rise Flooding to Buyers?

Question: When real estate owners sell property that’s experiencing sea level rise flooding or there’s flooding in the street out front, are they required to inform buyers of the problem in the sellers’ disclosure? Answer: It depends on state they reside in.

Real estate sellers’ disclosures are not governed by federal laws. Instead, each state decides what sellers have to disclose, and the laws vary greatly from state to state. Texas, for example, is quite strict in requiring sellers to disclose flooding in great detail. Virginia, on the other hand, is basically a let the buyer beware state when it comes to sellers’ disclosures.

The Natural Resources Defense Council surveyed the state disclosure laws and created a map that grades state’s on the stringency of their sellers’ disclosure requirements. Sellers need to know what’s required in their state to avoid the potential of costly lawsuits. To ensure they’re in compliance, sellers may need to confer with an attorney.

This video discusses how sea level rise flooding complicates the sellers’ disclosure process. “7 Sea Level Rise Real Estate Questions — for Buyers, Sellers, Owners & Real Estate Agents” explores the issue in greater detail.

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