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Flood damage risk to listed buildings rule breach

21 December 2010

Winter flooding – especially after so much snow is disastrous for all homeowners and the clean up can take a significant amount of time. If you live in a listed property, you need to ensure you also follow listed building rules on repair and restoration or face a heavy fine, imprisonment or making your property unsalable, warns Suzanne Bowman Associate at Adams & Remers LLP.

Suzanne Bowman comments: “There are particular risks for those who own listed properties in the wake of flooding, not only because this could damage something which is often irreplaceable but due to the inappropriate action of insurers or builders as a result of the flood.”

“Past experience has unfortunately shown that insurance company loss adjusters tend to suggest a “quick fix” unless they are experts in dealing with listed properties. On a standard policy of buildings insurance, expert contractors may not necessarily be covered under the policy’s remit.”

“If the worst happens, you should ensure you liaise fully with your insurer to check that the contractor and loss adjuster are specialists in properties of these kind and will be able to deal with the restoration work without breaching the law surrounding listed buildings. The law requires that any works other than like for like repairs carried out within the property have listed building consent.

“The removal for example of wooden panelling, changing floors, walls or even plaster type would require such consent unless a like for like repair is being carried out.”

As a precaution those who consider their property at risk of flooding should review their current insurance arrangements and check that their policy will deal with the full restoration with specialist contractors and materials required.

Suzanne concludes: “English Heritage warns that it is essential not to dry out an historic building too quickly. This can cause more damage than the flood itself and if you rush into remedial works before the building is thoroughly dry this could mean you have to repeat the exercise later on at additional cost and inconvenience.”

Supporting Information :

  • According to estimates the number of people at high risk of flooding could rise to 3.5 million by 2080.
  • Around 40,000 homes and 75,000 businesses in England are at risk of significant river or coastal flooding. (Source English Heritage)


For further information regarding this issue contact Suzanne Bowman at Adams & Remers.


+44 (0)1273 403220


+44 (0)1273 403220


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