Residents react to new law requiring notification if property is in 100-year-old floodplain – Port Arthur News

A new law requiring landlords to notify potential tenants if their property is in a 100-year-old floodplain is on the books and in effect.

The new law resulting from HB 531 entered into force on January 1.

The Flood Disclosure Notice allows the tenant / tenant to indicate whether they know the unit they are renting is located in a 100-year-old floodplain.

Even if the unit is not in a 100-year-old floodplain, the unit may still be prone to flooding, according to the advisory.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency maintains a flood map on its searchable website by toll-free address, the document read.

Most tenant insurance policies do not cover damage or loss due to flooding, according to information from the Texas Apartment Association.

You don’t have to go far back in local history to discover devastating flooding. The worst was Hurricane Harvey of 2017, which dumped so much rain it set a national record.

Patti Harrington, who sits on the board of directors of the Board of Realtors for Port Neches, Port Arthur, Nederland, said the flood disclosure notice would be given to potential tenants and those renewing their leases.

Harrington understands the need for tenant flood insurance just as there is a need for tenant insurance.

As a real estate agent, Harrington must keep up with changes and new laws. Otherwise, she said, she is not fulfilling her fiduciary duty as a licensee.

“I think it’s very beneficial for tenants,” Harrington said. “A lot of people, even homeowners, think if they get insurance it covers everything, but the flooding is completely separate.”

While real estate agents do not have to provide the forms, it is a requirement for property owners or managers.

John Gonzalez, director of marketing communications for the ITEX group, said ITEX is delighted to comply with the HB 351 standard, which informs new tenants of FEMA-designated floodplain status for new leases.

“We have been following the legislation closely and will follow the advice of the Texas Apartment Association,” said Gonzalez. “ITEX believes in developing transformational experiences for our tenants, starting with transparency and readiness. “

Jefferson County Pct. 3 Commissioner Michael Sinegal knows all too well about flooding.

“I lost a lot of personal belongings, photos and things that I will never get back,” he said. “My mother passed away in 2018 and the storm was in 2017. I had two feet of water in my house and I had this chest that contained all the family photos. I had pictures of my mother. I will never forget the day I had to throw this (trunk) in the trash. He was waterlogged.

And although Sinegal owns his home, he said he didn’t have insurance then – he has it now – and can understand the need for tenants to be aware of past flooding.

According to the Texas Apartment Association, there are a number of things that should be disclosed to tenants: if the landlord knows the home has been in a FEMA-designated floodplain for 100 years, and if the landlord knows that the flooding has occurred. damaged part of the at least once during the fire year immediately preceding the effective date of the lease.

Disclosure must be in writing and applies to all residential leases in Texas entered into or renewed on or after January 1, 2022.

It’s based on a similar disclosure law for home sales, according to the TAA.

The Centennial Floodplain, according to the House Bill, refers to any area of ​​land designated as a floodplain in which there is one percent or more risk of flooding each year by FEMA under the National Flood Insurance Act.

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