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Flood Hazard Areas

Special Flood Hazard Area

A Brief Explanation


California law requires the seller (if acting without an agent) or the seller's agent to disclose to a prospective transferee of real property if the property is located within a Special Flood Hazard Area ("SFHA") (any type Zone "A" or "V") as designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency ("FEMA) pursuant to 42 United States Code, Section 4001. Disclosure must be made if:

  • a seller (if acting without an agent) or the seller's agent has "actual knowledge" (Public Resources Code Section 2621.9(c)(1)) that the property is located within a special flood hazard area, OR

  • the local jurisdiction has compiled a list of properties (identified by parcel) that are within a special flood hazard area and a notice has been posted at the offices of the county recorder, county assessor, and county planning agency that identifies the location of the parcel list.


FEMA is required by Federal law to compile Flood Insurance Rate Maps identifying areas of potential flooding. Property located within a SFHA is subject to a one percent (1%) or greater chance of complete or partial flooding in any given year. FEMA defines this type of flood as the "base flood" which is more commonly known as a "100 year flood". A 100 year flood has a 26% chance of occurring during any 30 year period.

  • This disclosure only determines if any portion of this parcel is located within an SFHA. To get a determination for insurance purposes, a certified flood zone determination should be ordered through your lender.

  • Federal law (42 United States Code 4001 et seq.) requires that lienholders of structures determined to be within an SFHA have adequate flood insurance coverage in place from either:

    • the National Flood Insurance Protection Program (NFIP) which is administered by the Federal Insurance Administration, OR

    • any licensed property/casualty insurance agent or many private insurance companies that are writing flood insurance agreements with the Federal Insurance Administration.

  • In communities that participate in the NFIP, federally insured or regulated lenders require flood insurance for mortgages and other loans secured by structures located in an SFHA.

  • A parcel of property located outside an SFHA may still be subject to severe flooding. FEMA reports that 25% to 30% of all flood insurance claims are from owners of property located in low to moderate-risk areas located outside of an SFHA.

  • Lenders may at their discretion require the purchase of flood insurance even if a property is located outside of an SFHA.

  • For ways to protect a house from flooding, refer to FEMA publication 312 entitled "Homeowner's Guide to Retrofitting", published June, 1998.

  • Flood Insurance Rate Maps do not identify areas of potential flooding resulting from dam inundation and other causes.


For more information, please contact the Federal Emergency Management Agency office or contact them via the world wide web at http://www.fema.gov/.

rnet, and the innovative research of some professional disclosure folds, the seller, the buyer, the real estate agent or any interested third party can go to the right web page and obtain this required information and print it. This takes all the fears out of disclosures and allows all the interested people to have the correct information.

One click and the deal killer has been put to rest. The deal closes when all parties have met the legal requirements and everyone is happy.

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