Buyer Beware: Evaluating Property Disclosure as a Tool to Support Flood Risk Management

CIGI Policy Brief No. 131

May 8, 2018

This policy brief examines property disclosure as a potential tool to improve public understanding of flood risk and support disaster risk reduction. Property disclosure offers a potential tool by which buyers could become informed about a home’s history of flood damage and its exposure to future flood risk. Property disclosure to inform buyers about flood hazards has been entrenched in public policy in many other jurisdictions, but this approach has not been embraced in Canada. An effective flood risk property disclosure regime requires accurate, up-to-date and publicly available flood risk maps, clarification of legal liability associated with disclosures and a neutral third party to prepare and distribute property disclosure information.

About the Authors

Daniel Henstra is a former CIGI senior fellow and an associate professor of political science at the University of Waterloo.

Jason Thistlethwaite is a former CIGI senior fellow and an associate professor in the School of Environment, Enterprise and Development in the Faculty of Environment at the University of Waterloo.