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Flood Zone Notice Requirements


The law requiring some landlords to notify you that a property is at risk of flooding has strong notice requirements. Prior to signing a lease or lease renewal the landlord must tell you whether a property is located in the FEMA Special Flood Hazard Area (“100-year floodplain”) or Moderate Risk Flood Hazard Area (“500-year floodplain”), and if the unit or parking areas previously flooded.

The law does not apply to single-family homes, rentals where there are one or two residential units on the premises, or where there are three residential units and the owner lives in one. It also does not apply to hotels, motels, or other guesthouses serving transient or seasonal guests, where the property is rented for less than 120 days. However, you can still check if any of those properties is in a flood zone.

The Department of Environmental Protection developed a Flood Risk Notification Tool, where you can enter an address and find out whether the property is in a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Flood Zone. To use the tool, go to Flood Risk Notification and then, under “Map/Guidance,” click on “Launch Flood Risk Notification Tool.”

Effective May 5, 2024, landlords subject to the law must provide a written notice, using the model notice drafted by the Department of Community Affairs (Flood Risk Notice). If the lease is in writing, the notice required under this subsection may be included in the written lease or the written renewal lease. It must be in a separate rider, in at least 12-point typeface, and individually signed or otherwise acknowledged by you.

Every lease subject to the law must state:

Flood insurance may be available to renters through FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program to cover your personal property and contents in the event of a flood. A standard renter's insurance policy does not typically cover flood damage. You are encouraged to examine your policy to determine whether you are covered.

If a landlord who is subject to the law does not tell you that the property is in a Special or Moderate Risk Flood Zone, and it is, you can terminate the lease. The termination notice must be in writing and you should state the reason why you are ending the lease contract. The lease termination date is the day that you “surrender possession” of the rental unit, meaning everything is moved out and you have turned over the keys. Then, the landlord has 30 days to return your security deposit and refund any rent paid for any period after the effective date of the termination.

If your property has flooded, or flooding has blocked access to your property, you may have multiple legal issues and remedies. It would be best to seek legal assistance to discuss your claims.