Flood Ways, Flood Fringes and Real Estate Professionals
| July 16, 2013
As homeowners continue to clean up and move forward in the wake of the most devastating floods in Alberta’s history, the Alberta government is taking necessary steps to do the same. The province has introduced legislation to create new flood-mapping standards that will have long-term implications for industry professionals and consumers.
The new rules will map out and indicate which areas across the province are directly in the “floodway” or sitting on the “flood fringe.” Floodways are areas that are most likely to flood in times of higher flow and where flood water will be deepest and most destructive. Flood fringes are areas that are at less risk than floodways, and when floods occur, the water will be shallower and less destructive.
But what do these distinctions mean for consumers and industry members going forward? According to the proposed legislation, property owners who live in the floodway and suffered damage during the most recent flooding can rebuild and/or repair their property, or relocate with the assistance of the provincial government. If another flood occurs, those whose homes were in the floodway and chose to rebuild or repair will not receive any future Disaster Recovery Program assistance from the Provincial Government.
If those living on the flood fringe want to be eligible for financial compensation from the Alberta government if another flood occurs in the future, they must work to flood proof their properties now. Flood-proofing could involve grading a lot so the land slopes away from the foundation or replacing old or ineffective drainage systems. Those in the flood fringe who were affected by the June floods will be eligible for additional funds from Alberta’s Disaster Recovery Program, but those funds must be used for flood-proofing measures.
These new designations are particularly noteworthy for real estate industry professionals. Homes and businesses currently in flood ways, and those that use Disaster Recovery funds for flood mitigation, will have a notation on their land title to ensure that future owners of the property are aware. Pulling title on a property your clients wish to make an offer on is always a best practice, and now there is even more reason to do so. Industry professionals should ask sellers about any flood proofing they have done if their property is on the flood fringe, as potential buyers and their industry professionals will likely have questions. Even before these notations start to show up on property titles, real estate professionals should review the flood hazard map and advise their clients accordingly.
What advice would you give to a buyer wanting to purchase in a flood fringe?