Buy to let landlords face yet another business costs as insurance companies propose homes should carry a ‘flood rating’.
Mark Wilson, the chief executive of Britain’s biggest home insurance firm Aviva, has suggested the rating so buyers and tenants are aware of any flood risk to their homes.
But as much of the South West lies under water and insurers have taken a battering from damage claims following the recent storms, cynics are suggesting this is a way for insurance companies to hike their premiums.
Insurers are expecting a deluge of claims following the bad weather which will dent their profits.
Wilson explained that flood risk is an important factor in choosing a home and suggested that the government should ban building new estates on flood plains.
Hydrologists – flood experts – at Reading University have pointed out that although vast areas of countryside are underwater, only 6,000 homes have been hit by flooding compared with more than 50,000 in bad weather five years ago.
The reason is flood defences have been concentrated on built-up areas leaving flood plains to act as natural reservoirs for the overflow.
Nevertheless, despite signing the new Flood Re deal to pledge affordable home insurance for homes in high risk areas, insurers want the government to spend more to safeguard their profits.
“The risk of flooding is a critical factor home buyers and tenants have to take into account,” said Wilson.
“Better quality and more accessible data should be made available, especially to buyers. Planners should also halt building on defenceless flood plains.
The indication was homes should have a flood rating similar to an energy performance certificate, which costs landlords around £100.
“Around 200,000 homes have been built in the past decade and many face a significant flood risk,” added Wilson. “It’s time builders and the government put a stop to this.”
His call for flood ratings was also echoed by home insurer Axa.