Your Base Guide to Rental Flood Disclosure Addendums

Suppose you’ve recently signed a lease in New York City. You may have noticed a new document or addendum regarding rental flood disclosure in that case. Thanks to a law signed by Governor Kathy Hochul last year, landlords must now provide this information to renters for all leases and renewals signed after June 21st. This law aims to empower renters by giving them crucial knowledge about their building’s flood risk and history, which was previously their responsibility to research.

The Importance of NYC’s Required Flood Disclosure

The disclosed flood history will specifically cover “natural flood events,” such as those caused by heavy rainfall or storm surges. Additionally, the document will indicate if the building is located in a flood zone as defined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). It is important to note that most renter insurance policies do not cover flood damage, so FEMA will also inform renters about where to obtain renter flood insurance.

Where to Find the Flood Disclosure in Your Lease

To find the addendum regarding rental flood disclosure, renters should look for a separate document known as a rider attached to their lease. The NYC Housing Authority provides an example of this notice, which specifies whether the building is in a particular flood hazard zone (with a 1 percent chance of a once-in-100-year flood) or a moderate hazard area (with a 0.2 percent chance of a once-in-500-year flood). The rider will also detail whether the building has experienced prior flooding damage due to a natural flood event.

What if I Don’t Receive a Flood Disclosure with my Lease in NYC?

If your landlord fails to provide this flood history document, they could be held liable in civil court for flood-related damages to your property. Therefore, it’s crucial to thoroughly review the lease and its attached documents to be aware of any flood risks associated with your apartment.

Investigating Flood Risks in Your Building

Your apartment building doesn’t have a history of flooding? In that case, it’s crucial to investigate the severity of the issue, especially if you live in a lower-level or basement unit. You can check building reviews on multiple apartment-hunting websites to read complaints from previous tenants. The Department of Buildings website is also helpful for finding past residents’ complaints about the property.

It would also be best to find out whether your building is on an underground river, which could cause water to seep into the basement. Considering these factors will help you make informed decisions about protecting your property and yourself from potential flood risks.

Insurance Coverage and Additional Protection

Check your renter’s insurance policy to see if it covers flood damage. If not, consider purchasing additional renter flood insurance coverage through FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program. The cost of an NFIP policy varies based on location but averages around $739 per year in the United States.

It’s important to remember that the new state law does not cover floods arising from a building’s plumbing failures. Therefore, conducting additional research on your building’s history beyond flood risks is recommended. Look into issues like bed bugs, pest control, and garbage management to comprehensively understand the property’s condition.

Enhancing Flood Resilience

Considering the increasing impact of climate change on coastal flooding, renters can also encourage their landlords to make building changes that improve flood resistance. For example, adding water-absorbing greenery on roofs, which the city can partially fund, may enhance flood resilience.

As climate change worsens flooding risks, staying informed about your apartment’s flood history and taking proactive measures to protect yourself and your property becomes ever more critical. By being aware of your rights as a renter and researching building conditions, you can ensure a safer and more secure living environment in the face of future flood events.

Are you a landlord unsure how to fill out the disclosure? Or are you a renter who still needs some clarity on what to expect? Get in touch! We’re happy to help.

If you’re interested in learning about buying or selling in Brooklyn, download our free Buying Into Brooklyn Ebook or our Seller’s Guide. We share a ton of valuable resources to demystify the buying and selling process.

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