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“Most Homebuyers And Renters Aren’t Warned About Flood Or Wildfire Risk”

“Each family had their reasons for ending up in harm’s way.

For the Harts, it was the chance to have a large backyard in a quiet part of Ashland, Ore. The porch of the Baltimore house was perfect for Scott Harris' barbecue equipment. Kevin Boudreaux had grown up on the bayou and wanted to settle near his childhood home in Cameron, La.

Like millions of people every year who move, the families had access to a wide variety of information about everything from schools to public transit to lead paint. What they never learned, until it was too late, was that their homes all were in areas that are increasingly prone to flooding or wildfires.

None of the landlords, real estate agents, sellers, appraisers, bankers or home inspectors the families interacted with explained the risk of flooding or wildfires, because no one had to do so. Only about half of the states require that information about flood risk be disclosed to homebuyers, and just one state requires that such information be given to tenants. Only two Western states require disclosure of wildfire risk.”

Ryan Kellman, Rebecca Hersher, and Lauren Sommer report for NPR October 18, 2020.