Brooklyn Boro

Brooklyn pol’s bill to disclose flood info to homebuyers is long overdue

July 19, 2023 Daniel Cody
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Flash floods barraged upstate homes last week in the lower Hudson Valley and other northern city suburbs, causing major flooding and delays on Metro-North, and disrupting transit between the city and Westchester, Rockland and Orange counties.

According to LoHud, the record rainfall in the area ranged between two to four inches, and in some places (specifically, in the easternmost portion of the region neighboring Connecticut), it was projected to be up to eight inches.

On Sunday, July 9, a father and son were rescued from a hiking trail as a flash flood hit Stony Point, and the storms claimed the life of one Orange County resident.

At the tail end of these weather events, it’s no wonder that state legislators are taking a look at the consequences of extreme weather, especially for homebuyers.

Brooklyn Assemblymember Robert Carroll took the initiative and closed a loophole allowing sellers of homes to refrain from disclosing flood information to homebuyers for a credit of $500 at closing. In essence, the law gives buyers the “right to know” whether their home is at risk for flooding.

Carroll’s proposal is a companion piece of legislation to his bill that was passed last year requiring flood information to be disclosed to renters, so it only makes sense that mortgage payers have the same benefit.

The proposal passed the legislature, and if the governor signs it into law, homeowners will be required to be informed.

Before the “right to know” bill, if home sellers paid a $500 credit, they didn’t have to tell buyers if the home is at flood risk, or if the property has a history of flood insurance claims. Carroll said in a statement to the Brooklyn Eagle that New York is one of only 30 states with this “credit provision,” and his “right to know” bill requires the “disclosure of information concerning flood risk, flood history, and flood insurance on real property transactions.”

With the new law tentatively in place, standards will change and buyers can be educated on the property they’re spending money on, instead of being kept in the dark at the convenience of the previous homeowner.

“My legislation will help homebuyers by ensuring that they have the information about flooding to make informed choices on how best to protect their homes,” Carroll told Spectrum News. “As we work to fight climate change, we also have to take measures in response to the harm it is causing.

“New York State has lagged behind other states when it comes to flood risk disclosure and this legislation is an important step forward. I want to thank the Rise to Resilience Coalition for their tenacious work in securing the passage of this legislation.”

Residents of DUMBO, Bay Ridge and Coney Island know the consequences of Superstorm Sandy intimately and how important it is to stay prepared in the event of natural disasters. During Sandy, more than 50,000 homes were rendered uninhabitable in Coney Island alone.

With fair legislation that ensures people are educated on whether they’re near a risk zone, or if their property had been previously flooded, the public will be safer and better prepared for future disasters.

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