Carroll Bill Creating a Flood Risk “Right to Know” for Homebuyers Passes State Assembly

Requires the disclosure of information concerning flood risk, flood history, and flood insurance on home sales

Albany, NY Assemblymember Robert Carroll (D/WF-Brooklyn) announced that his bill (A.1967) establishing a flood risk “right to know” for homebuyers passed the New York State Assembly today. Last year, the Assemblymember sponsored and was successful in passing legislation regarding flood disclosure requirements for renters.

New York already has a flood disclosure requirement for homebuyers, but there is a major loophole: sellers can opt that the buyer get a $500 credit at closing and the disclosure requirement is waived. New York is the only State among the thirty that have flood disclosure requirements that has such a mechanism.

This bill eliminates the “credit provision” and requires the disclosure of information concerning flood risk, flood history, and flood insurance on real property transactions

In the last ten years, there have been flood disaster declarations in every county in New York State and flooding events are also the most common climate-related hazard in New York. The expected future annual flood losses for a home with prior flood damage is significantly higher than the average of all homes. According to a Natural Resources Defense Council study the average home in New York with prior flood damage has an expected average annual loss of $3,126, compared to $93 for the average home. Over the course of a 15-year mortgage, average expected damages to the previously flooded home equate to $46,887 (in today’s dollars); for a 30-year mortgage flood damages equate to $93,774.

“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,” said Assemblymember Robert Carroll. “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.”

"Today marks a historic victory for the New York Assembly. A flood risk right-to-know bill (A1967), championed by Waterfront Alliance and the Rise to Resilience Coalition, has passed the Assembly chamber, signaling the legislature's commitment to guaranteeing transparency and awareness of flood risks and history to all future home buyers across the State of New York. A home that has flooded once is likely to flood again. This bill will amend the $500 credit that exists in New York's current law to avoid disclosure of information around flooding. Disclosure aims to provide buyers with the best-available information to make an informed decision on what is likely the largest investment of their lives," said Cortney Koenig Worrall, President and CEO, Waterfront Alliance. "Building on the success of last year's renter flood disclosure bill, we urge the New York State Senate to follow the Assembly and pass S5400. We commend Assembly Member Carroll for continuing to champion New Yorkers’ right to know."

“With sea levels rising in New York City nearly twice as fast as the global average, educating New Yorkers about their property’s flood risk has never been more important. New Yorkers deserve transparency so that they are empowered to make informed decisions about their family’s futures, and this bill is a huge step forward towards giving them the knowledge they need. This is one step forward to ensure that new homeowners will be more prepared when making important and life-changing financial decisions. We applaud Assemblymember Carroll for helping new homeowners stay resilient to climate change,” said Christie Peale, CEO/Executive Director, Center for NYC Neighborhoods

“Finding a home is one of the biggest decisions one can make. Thanks to the Assembly leadership and sponsors of Assembly Bill A1967, New York is one step closer to establishing a full flood risk right to know law so that home buyers as well as renters can take precautions to ensure their home is safe from flooding” said Kate Boicourt, New York-New Jersey Director of Climate Resilient Coasts and Watersheds for Environmental Defense Fund

“New York home buyers deserve the right to know whether their potential dream house has ever flooded. Today, the Assembly - thanks to Assemblymember Carroll’s leadership - took a great step towards ensuring New Yorkers have that right, by passing Assembly Bill 1967. Now, the Senate must follow the Assembly’s lead to make that right a reality,” said Joel Scata, Senior Attorney, NRDC.

“As rain events and flooding become more frequent and severe due to climate change homebuyers in the Long Island Sound Region and across the State of New York must have the information they need in order to protect their assets and their families. We at Save the Sound applaud the New York Assembly for pushing forward to give homebuyers the right to know the flood risks, just as New York State gave these rights to tenants last year,” said David Ansel, Vice President of Water Protection, Save the Sound.