The impact Climate Change can have on your move

As the purchase of a home is most likely going to be the largest and most valuable transaction we will make in our lifetime, buyers are increasingly looking to  solicitors to help safeguard that investment.  In April 2023 The Law Society of England and Wales confirmed solicitors and conveyancers have a duty to advise clients on climate change risks.  While conveyancers will present their findings from the relevant searches that have been carried out for you, ultimately clients will need to make an informed decision in an increasingly uncertain environment.  Conveyancers  are not qualified to  advise you on the physical risks posed by climate change but having sourced the information for you  clients should commission an expert who can.

The environment data company, Groundsure, has estimated that 2.4 million properties will experience physical climate impacts between now and 2050.

With severe weather events one of the key concerns relating to climate change and residential conveyancing is the potential for properties to be at risk of flooding.

Flooding can cause extensive damage to property and result in financial loss.  It is therefore essential for conveyancers to conduct the relevant searches on properties in high-risk flood areas, assessing the potential risk and advising you accordingly of that quantified risk.  Where appropriate, we will  the conveyancer will need to report any high risk search results to the lenders for further review and this could affect your mortgage offer.  If your lender is unwilling to lend on the property, this is probably an indication that it is not safe for you to buy.

Lenders and insurers are already considering the future impacts of climate change on property and it is easy to understand why.

Climate change can affect building insurance premiums and as can be seen above, may also influence mortgage availability. , With many lenders now considering the risks associated with the impact of climate change when deciding whether or not lend against a property, you can see the impact climate change can have on the housing market.

Changing weather patterns can also impact the desirability and value of residential properties and you may have difficulty selling your property, especially in a high flood risk area.

Also, spells of extreme heat and prolonged drought followed by  the heavy downpours,  have increased subsidence claims in recent years.  Periods of high temperature in the UK have led to surging patterns of subsidence.

As well as  searches it is very important to instruct a surveyor when purchasing a property.  They will be able to provide a detailed report on any subsidence issues or whether the property is in a high risk area which could result in flood, coastal erosion or landslides.

As a firm we carry out the recommended environmental searches and where  necessary further, more in-depth searches based on flood risk and subsidence  and we will issue you with  a detailed report on the search results and the risks identified.  While we are not experts on the risk of climate change and its impact on the property you are buying, we are on hand to provide you with as much information as we are able to obtain for you and to help you make an informed decision.  Looking ahead, homeowners, developers and local authorities  will perhaps need to take adequate steps to invest in long term solutions and take preventative measures to  tackle flood risk, subsidence and the other risks posed by climate change.

If we can assist you with your move, please do get in touch.  We have a highly experienced team on hand to guide you through the process and help you make the best choice possible with your new purchase.  Please contact Natalie Goddard, Emily Holland, Hatice Mustafa or their teams on 020 8949 9500 for further information.