**Note: This law has been conditionally vetoed. We will update the content of this post when the bill is passed.
In March, New Jersey enacted one of the country’s strictest flood risk disclosure laws. The law requires property sellers to disclose flood risk information to potential buyers and renters. The goal is to ensure that potential buyers and renters have a complete understanding of the risks and costs associated with the properties they are interested in. The requirements apply to all residential property sales, including single-family homes, townhouses, and condominiums located in a special flood hazard area.
New Jersey is faced with threats from both coastal and stormwater flooding, and many communities have expressed concerns about the growing costs of flood damage, as well as never being warned about the risks when moving in. To address this, The Rise to Resilience (R2R) Coalition pushed to formalize legislation, making New Jersey the 30th state in the US to require written flood risk disclosures.
In terms of the details, the law requires property sellers and landlords to provide buyers and renters with a notice before closing a sale. The notice includes details on whether the property is in a designated floodplain, the history of flood damage, the projected flood risk, if flood insurance is required, the cost of the flood insurance premium, and other pertinent information.
The specific questions addressed in the notice include:
*Indicates disclosure for homebuyers, not renters.
While the information required for the notice is available, it is often dispersed, which may present challenges for local government officials. The good news is, Forerunner’s floodplain management platform can help. Our platform consolidates flood risk data and documents, so local governments can plan proactively and communicate flood risk more effectively.
One of Forerunner’s features is a public-facing website. This feature enables communities to share property-level flood risk data and documents publicly. The white labeled website stores relevant data and documents, such as Elevation Certificates (ECs), Letter of Map Revisions (LOMAs), and Floodplain Development Permits, in one place. It organizes everything clearly in property profiles, making it easy to gather information on a property. The website also includes a “Get Help” form that automatically logs inquiries, minimizing calls to local officials.
Some governments in New Jersey have already taken steps to implement Forerunner, including Brick Township. Elissa Commins, Floodplain Manager and co-CRS coordinator in Brick, notes, “I can't tell you how awesome the Public Property Profile feature is. It looks so professional and residents can manipulate the data to get an understanding of the differences between FIRMs. Every time someone calls now, I say ‘Yeah, just give me your email. I’ll show you all of the information,’ and send them a Public Profile.”
We will continue to build more features to support new regulations and changes. If you are interested in learning more, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or request a demo.
As flooding continues to increase across the country, it is likely that more states will adopt stricter disclosures over time. Taking action to drive awareness and increase transparency is difficult, but we believe it is well worth the effort to create more resilient communities in the future.