The Leon County Code requires disclosure of known flood conditions on residential properties to prospective buyers or tenants. The purpose of the flood disclosure ordinance is to protect the health, safety, and welfare of its citizens and to promote an environment free from the risk and fear of the damages and disruption of lives that result from the flooding of residential property. Flooding of residential property may result in significant damages to real and personal property as well as the displacement of residents to alternate housing. Prior to experiencing flooding, owners and tenants are oftentimes not aware if a property was prone to flooding or had experienced flooding prior to their purchase or lease of the property. Many times, if the floodprone condition of the property had been disclosed to owners and tenants prior to their purchase or lease, it would have changed their decision to purchase or lease the property. In addition, Florida law requires that a when a seller or landlord of residential property, including the seller's or landlord's broker, knows of facts that materially affect the value of such property, and which are not readily observable and are not known to a prospective buyer or tenant, the seller or landlord is under a duty to disclose such facts to a prospective buyer or tenant. Johnson v. Davis, 480 So.2d 625 (Fla. 1985); Syvrud v. Today Real Estate, Inc., 858 So.2d 1125 (Fla. 2d DCA 2003).
Leon County Code of Laws, Section 12-8(b) states:
It shall be unlawful for a seller or landlord of residential property, with knowledge that such property has experienced flooding or is otherwise floodprone, to fail to disclose such facts in writing to a prospective buyer or tenant when such flood conditions are not readily observable and are not known to the prospective buyer or tenant. In addition to the penalties contained herein, the failure of a seller or landlord to provide such disclosure in advance of entering into either a purchase and sale agreement, in the case of a prospective buyer, or an oral or written lease agreement, in the case of a prospective tenant, shall create a rebuttable presumption that the seller or landlord has failed to disclose facts that materially affect the value of such property and shall entitle the purchaser or tenant to seek to recover from the seller, in accordance with the remedies available at law, any damages resulting from such failure to disclose.