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Homebuyers and renters should know flood history of property

In the last several years Minnesotans have seen and experienced widespread flooding, which has severely impacted our state. Floods cause millions of dollars in damage to our homes, businesses, farmland and industry.

As an emergency management professional, I find it unacceptable that people in our country can buy or rent a home without knowing if it was previously under water. Flood risk disclosure laws, which are set up to make sure a new homebuyer or renter is aware of their flood risk, are missing or inadequate in about half of the states in our country. Minnesota is one of them.

In order to protect people, it is critical that anyone looking to purchase or lease a new home knows its flood history and risk, so that they can make an informed decision about whether it’s the right move or take appropriate steps to mitigate the risk. Lead paint disclosure is a perfect example of how this can work successfully.

Right now, Congress is set to pass the National Flood Insurance Program and it looks like it could include a nationwide flood disclosure requirement. Along with other emergency management officials across the state and country, I hope Sen. Tina Smith, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and the rest of our congressional delegation will make sure that disclosure requirements are not “watered down” when NFIP comes up for a vote.

The author is the former director of emergency management for the City of Saint Paul, and the past president of the Association of Minnesota Emergency Managers (AMEM).

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