Updated: January 07, 2022

Getting a Mortgage on a Flood Risk Property

Has your mortgage been refused due to flood risk? If you're buying a house in any of the flood zones, we tell you how to boost your chances of acceptance.

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Pete Mugleston

Author: Pete Mugleston - Mortgage Expert

Updated: January 07, 2022

Being based on an island here in the UK, with plenty of bad weather, means that in some areas flooding is a real possibility. This might be due to rainfall, rising sea water, or a host of other issues.

This guide will cover everything you need to know if your mortgage is refused due to flood risk. This will include what steps to take if you’re declined, how you can still secure borrowing on the property you want to buy and where to look for guidance.

Can a mortgage be refused due to flood risk?

Yes, it’s possible but it’s not a certainty. The reality is that some properties are located in areas susceptible to flooding. So, there are lenders who will provide mortgages in these at-risk zones.

Speaking with a broker who specialises in flood risk zones and knows the complete ins-and-outs of these areas will give you the best chance of securing a mortgage. Even if you’ve been previously declined, they can still help find the right deal for your situation.

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Different levels of flood risk in the UK

Not all areas have the same risk of flooding. Zones were introduced by the Environment Agency to reflect the various levels of flood risk within the UK. It’s worthwhile getting a good understanding of these zones, because they’ll play a big part in your ability to get a mortgage in certain locations.

Some lenders may refuse applications for areas with a risk of flooding. Whereas others might ask for a comprehensive insurance plan. To give you an idea how locations are categorised, here’s a quick overview of the four flood zones in the UK:

Flood Zone 1 (low probability)
Flood Zone 2 (medium probability)

This is the lowest level of flood risk. Properties within zone 1 tend to have less than a 0.1% possibility of flooding during each year. Think of it like a one-in-a-thousand chance.

Because of the low risk level, there are relatively few restrictions and you may not have much difficulty securing a mortgage in these locations.

Within this zone, there is a slightly higher risk of floods. So if you’re buying a house in flood zone 2, this means between a 0.1%-1% probability of river flooding each year. There is also a 0.1%-0.5% risk of flooding from sea water.

Any properties within this zone will likely come with potential complications and some additional eligibility requirements, but it’s still very possible to secure a mortgage on one.

Flood Zone 3a (high probability)
Flood Zone 3b (functional floodplain)

Locations within this zone have a greater than 1% chance of flooding from rivers and over a 0.5% risk of sea water floods each year.

Because this is a higher risk zone, you will almost certainly come across difficulties getting a mortgage for a property. In these cases, a broker can help walk you through your options and give you a better understanding of the situation.

Properties in zone 3b are the most at-risk because these areas come under the classification of ‘functional floodplains’.

These spots usually have over a 5% risk of flooding each year and they are sometimes used as areas to store water or allow it to flow through during floods.

What to do if you’ve been declined a mortgage because of flood risk

If you’re mortgage application has been declined because of a flood risk property, here’s what you can do next:

1. Be patient and find out why

If you’re declined, your first reaction might be to just go ahead and reapply with a different lender straight away but this is often not the best idea.

First of all it’s vital you fully understand why you were declined in the first place. This means making sure the rejection was completely due to flood risk and no other factors. If it was just due to potential flooding, how big a risk is it?

2. Consider your credit rating

When you apply for a mortgage, it impacts your credit report. Even if your application was declined due to flood risk, it’s important to remember that multiple applications for finance in a short space of time can reflect negatively on your credit rating.

Before you try to re-apply, download your credit reports and have a good look to see whether there’s any inaccuracies or outdated information that could be affecting your chances and make sure it’s removed.

3. Speak to an expert

If you’ve been unsuccessful with your application due to the risk of flooding, speaking to a broker who specialises in getting mortgages under such circumstances could be a very shrewd move.

Not only can they boost your chances of mortgage approval, they can also assist you to get property insurance from a reputable provider to cover you from the risks of floods.

Our free broker-matching service will make sure that you are put in touch with the right kind of expert for your situation. This can give your application a significant uplift and increase the chances of dealing with the right lender to deal with such cases.

Make an enquiry or call 0808 189 0463 to get started.

Flood insurance

This is simply an insurance policy you can take out to help cover costs in a situation where flooding occurs. Flood damage to properties can be a really expensive mess to deal with and insurers might charge higher premiums to cover the potentially high repair costs. Some insurers might not even wish to cover the property at all in high risk cases.

You will, however, still have plenty of options and paths you can take. But your lender may require policies to meet certain standards, and some insurers may offer more competitive prices than others.

If the property you’re looking to buy is located in a high, or even medium risk, zone, it’s important you get the right insurance policy to make sure you’re completely covered.

Get matched with a flood risk mortgage specialist

Trying to get a mortgage on a property in a flood risk zone or re-applying for a mortgage after a refusal can be tricky. Luckily, you can avoid most of the common pitfalls and give your application the best chance of success by speaking to a specialist broker.

We will match you up with an expert who can walk you through everything and connect you with the right lender from day one. This will save you time, resources, and prevent unwanted marks on your credit report. Just call 0808 189 0463 or make an enquiry to get the ball rolling and we’ll introduce you to an expert mortgage broker for free.

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We know everyone's circumstances are different, that's why we work with mortgage brokers who are experts in all different mortgage subjects. Ask us a question and we'll get the best expert to help.

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Pete Mugleston

Pete Mugleston

Mortgage Expert

About the author

Pete, an expert in all things mortgages, cut his teeth right in the middle of the credit crunch. With plenty of people needing help and few mortgage providers lending, Pete found great success in going the extra mile to find mortgages for people whom many others considered lost causes. The experience he gained, coupled with his love of helping people reach their goals, led him to establish Online Mortgage Advisor, with one clear vision – to help as many customers as possible get the right advice, regardless of need or background.

Pete’s presence in the industry as the ‘go-to’ for specialist finance continues to grow, and he is regularly cited in and writes for both local and national press, as well as trade publications, with a regular column in Mortgage Introducer and being the exclusive mortgage expert for LOVEMoney. Pete also writes for OMA of course!

FCA Disclaimer

*Based on our research, the content contained in this article is accurate as of the most recent time of writing. Lender criteria and policies change regularly so speak to one of the advisors we work with to confirm the most accurate up to date information. The information on the site is not tailored advice to each individual reader, and as such does not constitute financial advice. All advisors working with us are fully qualified to provide mortgage advice and work only for firms that are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. They will offer any advice specific to you and your needs.

Some types of buy to let mortgages are not regulated by the FCA. Think carefully before securing other debts against your home. As a mortgage is secured against your home, it may be repossessed if you do not keep up with repayments on your mortgage. Equity released from your home will also be secured against it.

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