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Watts Bulletin (Issue 145)

Welcome to the February issue of the Watts Technical Bulletin. As this edition goes to press, the weather is making the headlines. With rainfall hitting unprecedented levels and widespread flooding affecting thousands of homes and businesses, the second reading of the Water Bill in the House of Lords is timely indeed. If anyone was ever in doubt that a new flood insurance agreement is vital to the wellbeing of policy holders around the country, the events of the last two months have thrown this into clear perspective.

However it has become clear during the passage of the Bill through parliament that there are some gaping holes in the cover that is being proposed. Residential leasehold properties in particular are left out of the equation. The latest RICS Commercial Market Survey points to the fact that commercial property in flood risk areas will soon not be entitled to compulsory insurance cover and this is raising questions not only from RICS but from the British Property Federation and other industry commentators.

On the following pages we report on the RICS response to the Water Bill and take a look at new retail research from CBRE and a report on the Community Infrastructure Levy from Savills. We also look at a recent article published in Property Week that urges caution on the government’s new approach to selling off public assets and report on further delays to the project Management and Full Design Teams Services framework.

Watts Bulletin (Issue 145)

RICS urges re-think on Water Bill

On 24 January, the Water Bill had its second reading in the House of Lords and the issue of flood cover insurance was discussed. This is extremely timely given the level of flooding being experienced by large swathes of the South West and South of England. Also, the current flood insurance guarantee - the Statement of Principles - is soon to expire and is set to be replaced by the Flood Re proposal.

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Commenting on the Water Bill on its website, RICS has raised strong concerns over the number of properties – both residential leasehold and some commercial property - that have been excluded from the Flood Re proposals. Flood Re makes no provisions for home based micro-enterprises and smaller commercial properties. Although these have different insurance arrangements, they nevertheless form a core part of communities up and down the country that are under flooding risk.

The Institution broadly supports Flood Re as it is currently the only tenable solution available and has the support of both the insurance industry and government, which secures its viability. However, RICS is worried that the proposals as they stand will leave some parts of the property sector unable to access affordable flood insurance and potentially create a two-tier market. The current proposals in the Water Bill need to be expanded to bring in a broader category of residential property than are currently identified, says RICS.

For more information go to www.rics.org

For further information about RICS' re-think on Water Bill, contact Trevor Rushton, Director at Watts’ London office on 020 7280 8000.

Have you been affected by the recent floods? If so, we would like to hear from you on Watts’ Twitter page or join the Watts Bulletin group on LinkedIn.

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