North Carolina Real Estate Commission to disclose flood history to buyers
The North Carolina Real Estate Commission just decided to move forward on a petition that will give potential home buyers information about flood history and risk.
We filed the petition to add flood-related questions to the real estate disclosure form in December on behalf of Natural Resources Defense Council, North Carolina Justice Center, MDC Inc., North Carolina Disaster Recovery and Resiliency School, Robeson County Church and Community Center, and NC Field.
“Today’s decision means home buyers in North Carolina will receive the information necessary to know if they need flood insurance before buying a property,” says Senior Attorney Brooks Rainey-Pearson. “The Real Estate Commission’s decision following our petition helps ensure that home buyers in North Carolina will know the flood history and flood risks that come with a house.”
A recent study found that home buyers in North Carolina could incur tens of thousands of dollars in unanticipated damages over the lifetime of their mortgage, due to the state’s weak disclosure requirements.
The Commission’s decision is an important step towards our vision of a more just and transparent disaster recovery system.Andrew Loeb Shoenig, MDC Inc. Program Director
“The Real Estate Commission’s decision to grant the petition rectifies the fundamental unfairness of not requiring home buyers be told about a property’s flood history,” says NRDC Senior Attorney Joel Scata. “This is an important decision that puts North Carolina in the vanguard with states like Louisiana and Texas that ensure that home buyers are given clear and necessary information about a home’s flood history before purchase.”
An analysis by NRDC found that North Carolina has some of the nation’s weaker disclosure policies when it comes to flooding. A 2022 FEMA analysis also found North Carolina’s disclosure requirements to be severely lacking.
These proposed disclosures enjoy bipartisan support, with more than 80 percent of North Carolinians across the political spectrum in favor of strengthening the state’s disclosure requirements to ensure that home buyers have sufficient information about a property’s flood risks.
“Lower income households bear a disproportionate burden of the risk and costs of flooding,” says Andrew Loeb Shoenig, program director for MDC Inc. “The Commission’s decision is an important step towards our vision of a more just and transparent disaster recovery system. We look forward to continued partnership with state policymakers on further opportunities.”