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Scots house buyers sold short on flood risks, search chief warns
Housebuyers in Scotland have much less information provided to them about potential flood risks of a property than those in England, according to the head of a legal search firm.
Writin in the Scotsman, Richard Hepburn, managing director of Millar & Bryce, states that recent extreme weather events have meant an increase in the number of properties at risk from flooding in Scotland from 108,000 in 2008 and 2011 to 284,000, as reported by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) last December.
But whereas housebuyers south of the border have access to individual property assurance on their likelihood to experience flooding as a normal part of the sale and purchase process, in Scotland there is no current mechanism for providing that same information. "A homebuyer’s only protection is a single tick box on a form provided by the seller, indicating whether or not they are aware of a flooding incident at their property in the previous five years."
Mr Hepburn argues that given that SEPA has a system of national flood risk maps, companies like his should be able to use the data to provide relevant assurance reports as a statement of individual flood risk to inform prospective buyers – including projections of risk over coming decades.
"It’s a simple matter of consumer protection – it should not be acceptable that home buyers in Scotland are effectively purchasing on the basis of self-certification by the seller", he concludes.