In NJ, landlords and home sellers don’t have to warn you about past floods. This bill would change that.


New Jersey lawmakers are considering legislation that would warn prospective tenants or homebuyers of any potential flooding on a property before signing a contract.

The proposal for the flood declaration comes after a year. The remnants of Hurricane Ida caused widespread flooding across the state., killed 30 people, and just a few weeks before the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Sandy barreling down the coast. Proponents say it will help residents make informed decisions before heading indoors or better prepare for heavy rain events — and they’ll follow other states that have implemented such protections.

State Sen. Bob Smith, who introduced the bill last month, said, “In recent years, we’ve seen hurricanes cause devastating flood damage to homes. “Disclosing flood risk information during real estate transactions is a timely and effective way to inform renters and homeowners about potential flood hazards so they can decide where to live. To be better informed.”

The measure requires landlords and real estate agents to inform prospective tenants or buyers whether the properties they are dealing with are located in FEMA floodplains or other flood risk areas or have suffered flood damage. A tenant who suffers significant flood damage but is not properly notified by the landlord of the disaster can terminate the lease and sue to recover damages, the bill says.

Under the measure, the Department of Community Affairs will create a disclosure form that must be distributed to any tenants or homebuyers before they are bound by any contract on the property.

New Jersey is one of the 21 states without strong flood notification requirements, according to Waterfront Alliance. While neighboring New York requires sellers to inform the buyer if the property is in a floodplain and has any standing water, a seller who opts out only needs to pay the buyer a $500 credit. The Natural Resources Defense Council gave both states F ratings for not providing enough information to homebuyers.

A July 2022 A report by Activist Milliman found that the average New Jersey homebuyer with a previously flooded property could face $25,000 in damages over 15 years. That adds up to $50,000 over a 30-year period, according to the report.

In the year By 2021, nearly 8,000 homes that previously flooded have been purchased in New Jersey.

“This will finally give New Jerseyans the clarity they need to make informed decisions and ultimately reduce burdens and costs for both renters and homeowners,” said Kimberly Irby, New Jersey’s future policy manager, the committee said Thursday. The future of New Jersey has worked. The bill with the Realtors Association.

She said New Jersey is vulnerable to both coastal and inland flooding, which is only due to climate change.

“It makes sense to pass this bill and do it now because many New Jerseyans will be affected by these threats and need to know how much they will be affected before choosing where to live,” she said.

The New Jersey Apartment Association, however, opposed the bill and called for an amendment to require landlords to disclose only past flooding they know about.

Again, the proposal was unanimously approved by the Senate Environment and Energy Committee on Thursday.

“Flood damage can cause irreparable damage to valuables, and it’s important for residents to recognize flood hazards before they occur,” state Sen. Richard Cody said in a statement. “This bill will save lives and money by putting important consumer protections in place, allowing residents to understand that their homes may flood before a major storm hits the state.”

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