Trenton – As homeowners and renters across the state are increasingly at risk to sea level rise, flooding events and saltwater intrusion, the Senate passed legislation, sponsored by Senator Bob Smith and Senator Richard Codey, requiring home sellers and landlords to notify prospective buyers and renters if a property of interest is at risk of being affected by flooding. Today, the Senate approved the Governor’s recommendations to the bill with a vote of 36-0.
“As dramatic weather events increase, we can expect flooding to be a major issue for renters and homeowners alike,” said Senator Smith (D-Middlesex/Somerset). “I agree with the Governor’s intentions to strengthen consumers’ rights under this legislation. Disclosing to both groups about known flooding vulnerabilities is a must, and there will be consequences for failing to do so.”
The bill, S-3110, would require the Department of Community Affairs to create a model notice used by realtors and landlords to notify prospective buyers or renters of flooding risks to the property before they become obligated under any contract. The form would indicate if any of the property is located in a Federal Emergency Management Agency Special Flood Hazard Area or a moderate Risk Flood Hazard Area and if the property has ever experienced any flood damage in the past.
To support consumer protections, a tenant may terminate the lease without penalty at any time, if the landlord fails to disclose this information and after they become aware that the property is located in a flood plain, according to the Governor’s recommendations.
“Water damage to a property can be catastrophic,” said Senator Cody (D-Essex/Morris). “Disclosing to would-be homeowners and renters about flood risks will give them the information they need to make educated decisions on where to live. This bill will save money and lives by putting in place these important consumer protections.”
The bill was previously released by the Senate by a vote of 37-0 on December 19, 2022.