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Rental Property in Known/Identified High-Risk Flood Zone, LL Didn't Inform Tenant

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sandyclaus

Senior Member
What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? California

As the title states, a tenant has learned (well into their lease term) that the house which they are renting is located in a flood zone (FEMA Zone AH, a high-risk flood zone) in a community that participates in the National Flood Insurance Program. For those who are unaware, a property owner who owns property within a high-risk flood zone is required to maintain a specific flood insurance policy in addition to any existing hazard insurance for the property, as a standard hazard policy will not normally cover claims as a result of flooding. A tenant, knowing of such a risk, would likely be advised to obtain a specific renter's insurance policy that covered damages resulting from a flood.

The LL DID NOT specifically notify the tenant that the property was located in a high-risk flood zone. The tenant did sign a standard boilerplate lease (http://www.gobookee.org/get_book.php?u=aHR0cDovL3d3dy5jYXIub3JnL2xlZ2FsL3N0YW5kYXJkLWZvcm1zL3N1bW1hcnktZm9ybXMtcmVsZWFzZXMtY2hhcnQvbm92LTIwMDgtZm9ybS1yZWxlYXNlcy1jaGFydC8yMjgzNjgvCkNBTElGT1JOSUEgUkVTSURFTlRJQUwgTEVBU0UgT1IgQVNTT0NJQVRJT04gTU9OVEgtVE8tTU9OVEggLi4u) in which section 12 DOES advise the tenant to check out the area to investigate any possible hazards.

The tenant learned about living in a flood zone only because they discovered large amounts of dirt sitting beneath linoleum that is currently being replaced in the rental property. They have NOT had a flood, nor have they been damaged in anyway by a flood while living in the property.

Would the LL have been legally obligated to notify the tenant that they were living in a known high-risk flood zone? Would this be a required notification, or is this something that the tenant would have to learn about on their own? Note that if the occupant was BUYING the property and not just renting, there would be a legal obligation for the seller to disclose such a risk.
 

FlyingRon

Senior Member
A landlord is only required to have that insurance if the property is FINANCED by one of the federally underwritten programs (or the lender otherwise requires it). While it appears that some states have flood-area disclosures mandated, California appears not to have them (it's limited to more toxic environmental issues (lead paint, asbestos, meth labs, ...).

What do you want? You appear to have no damages at this point.
 

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