CAPE CORAL, Fla. — As we have learned from Hurricane Ian, flooding is a risk when it comes to storms. A newly filed bill in the State Legislature would require some landlords to tell tenants about their flood zones before they sign a lease.
Under the bill filed by Sen. Linda Stewart, who represents part of Orlando, landlords of apartments must tell potential tenants the apartment's flood zone.
If the zone changes, they must disclose that, too.
"Basically it’s just about notification for the residents so they can take steps to be proactive," Stewart said.
She says the proactive measures can come from simply protecting your home physically, or through flood insurance.
"It does give people the opportunity then if they wanted to get flood insurance, they might find it more necessary to get it once they’ve been notified that they’re in a flood zone," Stewart explained.
According to June 2023 data from Nerd Wallet, Lee County's average flood insurance rate is about $1,000 a year.
Katie Sylvia, a Keller Williams realtor, says most renters, especially ones moving here, may not think about flood insurance.
"If you’re going to live in a flood zone, just be aware the risks," she said. "And you know, I would carry flood insurance."
She's also seeing more people think twice about living in a flood zone.
"I have noticed a lot of my buyers have been trying to trend towards a non-flood zone or newer construction with higher elevation," Sylvia explained.
This bill would only apply to apartments, not homes. Stewart says she wants to make this a law first, before looking at other types of homes.
"I think it’s just needed bill for protection for those who rent," Stewart said.
Sylvia already tells her buyers if the home is in a flood zone, and believes this bill would be beneficial, but wants people to know living in paradise comes with risks.
"It’s a risk you take no matter where you live," she said. "You’re going to have some kind of weather phenomenon."
If the bill passes, it goes into effect July 2024.