BAM Key Details:

  • NAR’s state flood disclosure tracker, developed with the Legal Research Center, provides a comprehensive understanding of existing flood-related disclosure forms and requirements across all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
  • FEMA’s proposed legislation mandates states to adopt a real estate-related disclosure form, a move opposed by NAR.
  • NAR believes that FEMA’s proposed form lacks utility, duplicates questions, and may pose challenges for sellers.

In a move to address the proposed flood disclosure form by the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA), the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) has introduced a state flood disclosure tracker.

What is the State Flood Disclosure Tracker? 

The state flood disclosure tracker is a complete survey of disclosure requirements across all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Conducted by the Legal Research Center, the survey identifies the flood-related disclosure forms and requirements currently in place.

This tool aims to shed light on existing state disclosure requirements. In addition, it strives to “educate the public and Congress” as it considers FEMA’s legislative proposals to reform the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), according to NAR’s press release.

FEMA’s Proposed Legislation

Under FEMA’s proposed legislation, states would be mandated to adopt a new real estate-related disclosure form with specific flood-related questions to qualify for the NFIP. NAR’s President, Tracy Kasper, released a statement saying that such a move could introduce unnecessary complexities into the real estate process.

“The proposed legislation would add unnecessary red tape to an already complex purchasing and selling process. Our research has found that every single state has flood disclosure requirements, and there is no need to have federal government involvement in a practice that each state knows how to handle best. The proposed FEMA form would not be useful to buyers and duplicative for sellers, virtually having them check the same box on a different form.”

Tracy Kasper

President, National Association of Realtors®

Why NAR is Addressing the Proposed Legislation

According to NAR, the Legal Research Center evaluated state disclosure laws, focusing on three principles when analyzing FEMA’s proposed legislation: 

  • Is it useful information for buyers?
  • Is it reasonable for sellers to provide? 
  • Is it feasible for states to administer and enforce?

The research reveals that all states already mandate the disclosure of known property conditions, including prior flood damage. Findings highlight that FEMA’s proposed form “does not provide useful information to buyers, duplicates form questions, will be difficult for sellers to complete fully, and could create new opportunities for frivolous lawsuits and technical paperwork ‘I-gotchas.’”

“Our research reveals that states have a long history of tailoring and enforcing their respective disclosure requirements to meet state-specific flooding concerns. The FEMA study solely considers whether specific questions are asked on a required disclosure form and ignores existing state laws, regulations, and court rulings addressing flood disclosure requirements. A one-size-fits-all approach of a federally-required form fails to address local needs.”

Kevin Ritchey

CEO, Legal Research Center

NAR encourages real estate agents to stay informed about the ongoing NFIP reform legislation and advocates for alternative measures, such as the Flood History Information Act. This act, which is supported by NAR, emphasizes the importance of FEMA disclosing NFIP claims and disaster aid data directly to property buyers and renters, ensuring transparency and informed decision-making.

By staying informed, agents can navigate potential legislative changes and continue to serve their clients efficiently.