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To buy a house which has flooded in the past?

(83 Posts)
mostlyrain Fri 17-Jun-16 08:25:56

We viewed a house yesterday in a village we would love to live in. It's a desirable area and stock is low. This is the 2nd house to come up in 6 months within our budget. Anyhow this house is great. Needs some work as it's had tenants in but the only reason we can afford it is because it has flooded in the past. Once in 1968 and once in 2012. Seemingly a flood plan has been put in place by the LA and EA since. It's right next to a ford. Are we mad to even consider it?

CathemeralChild Fri 17-Jun-16 08:28:40

Can you get insurance?
Is it mortgageable?
And if it floods again its value will drop even further.

Queenbean Fri 17-Jun-16 08:31:06

Walk away. Not worth it.

Gardencentregroupie Fri 17-Jun-16 08:32:17

Don't do it don't do it DO NOT DO IT

SmallBee Fri 17-Jun-16 08:32:19

We had to back out of a house that had flooded recently at the last minute because although we loved it we couldn't afford the insurance premiums and only the existing insurers would cover us. The premiums were £1,600 and they could have increased it to anything.
Before making an offer you need to speak to insurance companies and see what it's going to cost you. Make sure you actually talk to them as when I did a quick check on go compare I got lots of quotes but it was only later once I tried to actually buy a policy we realised it wasn't happening.

We now have a house where our insurance is £120 and with hindsight I'm really glad we didn't get the other one, although I loved it at the time.

MiserlyMisery Fri 17-Jun-16 08:40:20

Yes. Very unlikely to get insurance against flood damage.

Lokisglowstickofdestiny Fri 17-Jun-16 08:43:16

I'd see whether you can get insurance first, go to one of the comparison sites and see how many are prepared to quote. Then consider whether the premiums are reasonable, assuming you get any insurer prepared to quote. A working flood plan may mitigate the risk as far as the insurers are concerned but if it's right next to a ford you are probably at ground zero in terms of a future flood so whilst others properties around you may be safe you may not be due to proximity. I'd walk away.

The introduction of Flood Re makes insurance much more affordable. Still more expensive than a non-flood prone property, but not not nearly as expensive as the enormous premiums and deductibles that were charged in recent years (caveat - this applies to owner-occupiers of houses only). So the insurance shouldn't be a serious problem unless they change the law again, but it's up to you whether you are prepared to take the risk of actual flooding and the disruption that goes with it - personally I wouldn't be.

KittyKrap Fri 17-Jun-16 08:51:30

One of my friends live in Carlisle, they flooded in 2005, flood defences were put in place costing millions.

They flooded twice last winter.

Walk away!

mostlyrain Fri 17-Jun-16 08:54:21

Apparently they do have insurance but I was going to ask how much it was. We're finding this a tough one as we love the village!

PurpleWithRed Fri 17-Jun-16 08:57:09

Also need to consider the future saleability of the house. But I'd consider it depending on the new defences, insurance and how long I expect to live ther. I'd also make a very very cheeky offer if I was prepared to go ahead.

AugustaFinkNottle Fri 17-Jun-16 08:57:18

A friend of mine bought a house near a river when she knew there was a flood risk and that insurance wouldn't cover them fully for that reason. I very distinctly remember her telling me it wasn't a problem because she knew the area so well, it hadn't flooded for a century, things (including flood defences) had changed since then, and it wasn't going to flood now.

That was last year, and it was in the North West. A few months after she moved in, we had all the big floods in Cumbria and Lancashire. The floodwaters came to within a foot of the ground floor ceilings. They still haven't been able to move back in.

nonline Fri 17-Jun-16 09:00:19

We were evacuated twice from our last house for flooding fears (luckily escaped each time). The stress of that was enough for me to rule out a nearby desirable area of town for out next purchase.

In-laws were also concerned about us buying a house in another area that had flooded horrendously some years ago as any damp course (?) etc would have been overcome and could be issues now.

HostaFireandIce Fri 17-Jun-16 09:02:26

Definitely don't do it! We lived in a house which was the same postcode as a house which had flooded, but our house was up a hill. One insurance company quoted us £2400 to insure it (it was a 3 bed semi) because of the postcode! Fortunately, another company accepted that our house had not flooded and wasn't likely to, but I dread to think what the premiums would be like if it actually had...

Lweji Fri 17-Jun-16 09:04:20

The weather is only likely to get more extreme not less, so I wouldn't.

SatansLittleHelper2 Fri 17-Jun-16 09:07:21

A lady I knew of had her entire downstairs done out in swimming pool tiles and hoists fitted to the ceiling because her property regularly flooded (( very desirable area )) unless you're willing / able to do something like that you'd be mad to even consider it !!

Pufflemum Fri 17-Jun-16 09:08:44

My previous house flooded in a freak incident. The stress was unbelievable. For years I would panic if it rained heavily. Having recently moved my main criteria was not to be near any water at all. Do not buy it.

CocktailQueen Fri 17-Jun-16 09:08:55

No way. How could you ever relax there? The risk of more extreme weather events is also too high.

If you did, though, you could consider taking these measures to protect it in the event of a flood:

lastnightiwenttomanderley Fri 17-Jun-16 09:10:56

I'm going to be blunt...there's a reason why it's one of the few in your price range. I design buildings for a living so am pretty gung ho about houses with issues but I'd walk away from this one too.

Sorry OP, I know it's probably gutting but I wouldn't do it.

bakeoffcake Fri 17-Jun-16 09:12:28

Many houses flooded in 2001 in the village next to ours. Every single one of them has since been resold without a problem. One last month sold within a week! They have all had things done to them to try to minimise any future floods, pumps underfloor boards, tanking of cellars etc.
So I think if you love the house and can get insurance I'd go for it. Mind you I live in a thatch and I know others wouldn't ever buy one, but I love our house and our village.

purplefox Fri 17-Jun-16 09:14:22

There's no way I would.

Lindy2 Fri 17-Jun-16 09:19:35

There are houses in my village that flood approximately every 10 years. After each flood several go on the market to be sold. New owners move in thinking the planned flood defences will stop it happening again. They don't and the same thing repeats all over again when they next flood. The only difference is that they are harder to sell each time it happens and several are now let.
Our village is supposed to have been given £10 million for flood defences. It's just Government spin. Nothing actually gets done. In fact they build even more houses to make it even worse.

PinkSparklyPussyCat Fri 17-Jun-16 09:24:47

We bought ours as, although it had flooded, it was back in the 1940s. Had it been any more recent we wouldn't have even considered it. We initially had problems getting insurance but that seems to have improved although the flood excess on our buildings insurance is £1000. Ironically our contents insurance has gone down, despite being very close to the flooding in 2014.

BikeRunSki Fri 17-Jun-16 09:33:22

I work for the Environment Agency in flood risk management and am still heavily involved in the recovery works from last winter's floods in Yorkshire.

My instinct would be not to buy the house, but people have many reasons for wanting to live somewhere. If you still want to go ahead with the house, really, really check out the insurance side of things. I don't work in the team that advises insurers anymore, but in the past there have been restrictions on insuring new owners (ie: current policies extended but not transferred to new ownership), insuring houses built after 2004/5 (when the EA flood maps were introduced), although this has been reviewed recently with Flood Re. If this is OK, then check the existence of any flood defences, but beware that the EA has very few legal duties (a great many powers, but v few duties) to maintain flood defences - they just have to not make flooding worse than it would be in the natural state.

Presumably the property would be covered by the EA flood warning system? Worth checking

If the property runs up to a river you are likely to have "riparian responsibilities" regarding the maintenance of the river bank, private defences and conveyance of the river alongside your property.

Even if you resolve all these issues, flooding is heartbreaking. It's sudden (even with flood warnings, if can be very very fast), destructive (flood water is not clean river water, it's mixed up with sewage and sewers invariably overflow too) and can have you out of your home for months. I think there were people living in temp accommodation for nearly 3 years after the Carlisle floods of 2005.

If you PM me the name of the village/property postcode, I'll let you know which EA office to write to if you want further info on the flood history of the area. The sudden onset of deep flooding in a steep upland valley is very different to a few cm that dribble in slowly with 24 hrs notice. I'd avoid the first (some properties in Hebden Bridge flooded into the first floor level on Boxing Day, the weather changed so quickly we didn't foresee those floods until late in Christmas Day), but with the right kind of ground floor flooring, plaster, electrics etc I may consider the second for an amazing house.

Might also want to look at Living on The Edge and EA flood map and National Flood Forum.

AlmaMartyr Fri 17-Jun-16 09:34:24

Walk away.

2012 isn't that long ago and weather is getting more extreme. A village near us has houses at risk of flooding. There is a great flood defence system but there were still floods this year after freak rain. Someone who had just moved in there was extremely distressed because they had been warned of the risk and believed (wrongly) that it was no longer a problem.

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