New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) last week signed a bill into law that establishes a flood risk “right to know” for homebuyers. The legislation is meant to safeguard prospective homeowners against the expanding risks of flooding and natural disasters.
Assembly Bill A1967 “requires disclosure of information concerning flood insurance on property condition disclosure statements [and] relates to liability with respect to property disclosures,” according to the bill’s official description on the New York State Assembly website.
“Previously, sellers could opt that the buyer gets a $500 credit at closing and the disclosure requirement was waived,” Hochul’s office explained. “This legislation eliminates the ‘credit provision’ and requires the disclosure of information concerning flood risk, flood history, and flood insurance on real property transactions.”
Alongside the flood risk disclosure bill, Hochul also signed into law a measure requiring the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation to “implement permit regulations and guidance pertaining to nature-based solutions for shoreline management.”
Both bills were touted by the governor as examples of the state’s efforts to combat the damaging impacts of climate change.
“Today marks a monumental step forward in our mission to protect New Yorkers from the impacts of climate change and extreme weather events,” Hochul said in a statement upon signing both bills into law. “This legislation highlights our commitment to restoring natural habitats, which are our greatest natural barrier for extreme flooding, and safeguarding New Yorkers from the long-term dangers of flooding.”
State Sen. Brad Hoylman-Sigal (D), the chief sponsor of the State Senate version of the disclosure bill, described more frequent natural disasters in the state (like flooding) as a “new reality” that requires more transparency during the home-buying process.
“In response to this new reality, our flood disclosure legislation […] requires flood risk information to be provided to homebuyers, giving them the necessary tools to make educated purchases,” he said.
The Waterfront Alliance — an organization dedicated to protecting accessible waterfronts — lauded the June passage of the bill as “historic,” adding that across New York state, “disaster declarations due to flooding have been declared in every county in the past 10 years alone. Flooding is the most common climate-related hazard in New York.”