Western North Carolina Landslides
Friday, November 2, 2007
Open Letter to Roy Cooper, Attorney General of North Carolina
On May 21, 2007 three landslide advisory billboards were posted in Asheville to warn residents and prospective buyers that unstable slopes are common natural perils in Western North Carolina. The web site documents the catastrophic fifteen county slope failures of September 2004 and demonstrates that landslides are constant and uninsurable threats to property values.
It is not fair that identifiable risks are being concealed in presale negotiations. Interested parties must be clearly warned with a natural hazard statement of the risks they are assuming.
NATURAL HAZARD DISCLOSURE STATEMENT
Please be advised that you are buying property in a high risk hazard area and this will affect your ability to obtain insurance. _________ County, location of _________ is in a state designated landslide district. The slope stability risk factors of the state mandated landslide mapping program were not available at the time this residential project was completed. ___________ was developed under regulations that did not require North Carolina licensed geologic site specific safety stability studies. You may wish to seek professional advice about this property.
Precedent indicates that the Attorney General can act quickly and responsibly to inform the public of property risks. In April 1996 the North Carolina Office of the Attorney General responded to inspection reports of the moisture retention problems of stucco clad homes(EIFS) in North Carolina by notifying builders, developers, and real estate agents that they would have to furnish cautionary disclosure statements to all buyers interested in these properties. The North Carolina Real Estate Commission concurred: property damage caused by EIFS is a material fact and must be disclosed.
"(A)gents should disclose available information about synthetic stucco to consumers and refer them to building inspection offices, manufacturers, and other experts for further information. In addition, agents may wish to refer prospective purchasers to professional inspectors for a thorough examination of the property."
All buyers deserve the right to be informed of substantive and uninsurable property hazards.