Press Release | February 15, 2023

North Carolina Real Estate Commission to disclose flood history to buyers

Homebuyers can expect more transparency on flood risks and potential costs

RALEIGH, N.C.— The North Carolina Real Estate Commission decided today to move forward on a petition that will give potential home buyers information about flood history and risk when buying a home. The petition to add flood-related questions to the real estate disclosure form was filed on December 2022 by Southern Environmental Law Center on behalf of NRDC (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 homebuyers in North Carolina will receive the information necessary to know if they need flood insurance before buying a property,” said Brooks Rainey-Pearson, senior attorney, Southern Environmental Law Center, which represents the organizations before the commission. “The Real Estate Commission’s decision following our petition helps ensure that homebuyers in North Carolina will know the flood history and flood risks that come with a house.” 

“For too long, North Carolina buyers have been kept in the dark about flood risks when choosing where their family will call home. 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,” said Joel Scata, senior attorney, NRDC. ““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.”

A recent study found that homebuyers 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. 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% of North Carolinians across the political spectrum in favor of strengthening the state’s disclosure requirements to ensure that homebuyers have sufficient information about a property’s flood risks.

“We joined this petition as the convener for the North Carolina Inclusive Disaster Recovery Network. Lower income households bear a disproportionate burden of the risk and costs of flooding,” said 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.” 

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