A house in Copiague, New York is partially submerged as high tide, rain and winds from Hurricane Sandy caused widespread damage on Oct. 29, 2012. Bruce Bennett / Getty Images
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In New York, anyone looking to sell a property will need to disclose whether that property has experienced flooding or is at risk of flooding in the future, per a newly signed law. The bill was passed by the state legislature in June and was signed into law on Friday by New York Governor Kathy Hochul.
New York State previously allowed property owners to opt in to giving the buyer a credit of $500 in exchange for not having to provide previous flooding risks of a property when selling, The Associated Press reported. The new law closes this loophole and requires sellers to provide flood risks and whether flood insurance claims have been previously filed.
“Today marks a monumental step forward in our mission to protect New Yorkers from the impacts of climate change and extreme weather events,” Hochul said in a statement. “This legislation highlights our commitment to restoring natural habitats, which are our greatest natural barrier for extreme flooding, and safeguarding New Yorkers from the long-term dangers of flooding.”
The bill comes at a time of rising sea levels and increases in extreme rainfall that have increased flooding risks for people in New York.
According to SeaLevelRise.org, the sea level around coastal New York has risen 9 inches since 1950, and the rate of sea level rise has increased to about an inch every 7 to 8 years.
The NYC Panel on Climate Change predicted sea levels around New York City alone will rise 8 to 30 inches by the 2050s and up to 75 inches by 2100. This can result in more instances of “sunny day” flooding, which happens because of rising sea levels and requires no rain for flooding to occur. Properties are also at risk of flooding from extreme weather, including hurricanes and cold-season “Nor’easters” like blizzards and other winter storms.
In June 2023, the New York State Legislature voted to pass the bill following a similar bill passed the previous year to protect renters from flood risks. The bill requiring flood risk disclosures to renters went into effect in June 2023, The City reported.
“The legislature decided last year that renters deserved flood disclosure. This bill brings that same protection to home buyers, who need to know their flood risks,” Joel Scata, attorney for water initiatives at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) said in a previous statement. “Disclosure of past flood damages is currently costing New Yorkers hundreds of thousands of dollars and a home that has flooded once is likely to be hit again — so this bill goes a long way towards helping give home buyers information they need to make informed decisions about one of their biggest financial investments; their home.”
New York joins at least 29 other states, including New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina and Louisiana, in requiring flooding disclosures.