Thursday, 18 March 2010

Flooding in the Languedoc

If you’re thinking of buying in the Languedoc region of France, it's essential to check that the properties aren’t built in a flood risk area.

Flooding can be a serious problem in France and in particular in the Languedoc region. It is vital that all prospective home buyers are aware of flood zones, of the legal obligations that exist for vendors, and the steps one can take to protect oneself from buying a dream property which turns into a river bed once or twice a year! This guide should help you to avoid that particular pitfall.

There has been serious flooding in the Gard and Hérault in 1988, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2003 and most recently in 2005. Since the most recent floods, the realisation is dawning on many in the region that this is becoming something of an annual occurrence. Regional authorities are continuing to assess prevention measures and plan for better defences.

The French Weather Broadcast (The Météo) displays a colour graded public warning system called “La Carte de Vigilence” (The Warning Map) to help residents take protective measures against storms. The “Carte de Vigilence” can be accessed
directly on the top right hand corner of the French Météo website and is announced on the local radio. Red Alert - is defined by the expectation that 12 inches (300 mm) of rain are forecast to fall that day.


Unfortunately, when being shown around a house, not all estate agents and vendors are honest enough to tell you that the house is in a flood zone.

It pays to make your own checks at the local Mairie (Town Hall), where they'll be able to show you maps of flood zones, and will check with the Prefecture (Regional Government Office) for any other information.
The Prefect of each département (region) must produce a risks document "available for consultation". To do this, he must draw up the DDRM (Department Report of Major Risks), which describes the risks town by town and their predictable consequences, as well as the prevention protection and safeguard measures planned in the Département to reduce their effects. The Prefect is responsible for sending the Mayor the DDRM, with the maps of the existing risk as well as the flood prevention plan.

You could also check in the village itself with local neighbours and check maps of flood zones on line (the French Ministry of Ecology provides detailed, region-specific facts and figures on flood risks and maps of flooding zones). You are entitled to ask the vendor and estate agent directly whether the property has suffered from flood damage in the past. The owner and estate agent are legally obliged to tell you if the house is subject to flooding and can be sued if they fail to inform you. It is also obligatory under French Law in this region for the Acte de Vente (Contract of Sale) to include details of previous flood or storm damage. (Article R 125-23 and R 125-27 of the Code de l'Environnement (Environment Code)

People living along rivers are solely responsible for their protection against floods. They cannot demand that the State or local authorities erect protective dykes or works. However, this law has been the subject of a number of exceptions, in particular on the Loire, Rhine and Rhone rivers, where the State has assumed the responsibility for the building of protective structures. Moreover, regional authorities can undertake flood protection work when this is in the public interest or represents an emergency. Their intervention is not, however, obligatory.

Remember.When you buy a house in France, it is Law for the Vendor to have the house inspected for lead,termites,asbestos,energy performance,electrical installations and natural risks. A full report will be made available to you. 

If you decide to buy your house in certain areas which are well known to metamorphose into river beds once a year, you are likely to find insurance extremely hard to come by.
Some areas of the Gard and Hérault are almost untouchable from the point of view of insurance companies, so check that you can insure your property before you commit to buy. If the property has been flooded just twice, your insurance premiums are going to rise considerably after the second occasion. Digg It! Stumble Delicious Technorati Tweet It! Facebook

Enjoy a romp around the Aude, Languedoc

This Aude Languedoc property site is designed to give extra credibilty to buy property and find property for sale in the Aude, Languedoc as a holiday home or main residence.

There is detailed information on all you need to know about buying property in France and especially in the Aude,Languedoc. This can be found on

If you come to the Aude to buy Property, and need a Gite to stay in, have a look here:

Happy romp!!