08/16/2013 02:23 EDT | Updated 10/16/2013 05:12 EDT

Mandatory Flood Warnings: Alberta Backs Away From Mandatory Caution On Land Titles

EDMONTON - The Alberta government is backing away from a plan to put warnings on land titles for properties in flood-risk zones.

The government will instead work with the real estate industry to ensure prospective homeowners get the information they need before buying property at risk of flooding.

“We want to help property owners get their homes back to normal as quickly as possible while ensuring the property is protected from future floods,” Rick Fraser, associate minister in charge of flood recovery, said Friday in a news release.

“These changes will make mitigation easier and more efficient.”

Municipal Affairs spokeswoman Kathleen Range said the government modified the rules after hearing from Albertans.

Range said the goal is to balance consumer protection with the needs of homeowners, who said they didn't want the notation on land titles.

"There are other ways that we would be able to get that information into (homebuyers') hands other than doing the note on the land title," said Range.

The province will explore "more proactive ways, such as working with the real estate industry to make sure consumers are protected on what is likely the biggest purchase they will make in their lifetime," she said.

Homebuyers can already check properties on Alberta's flood-hazard mapping website.

Extensive flooding in June displaced tens of thousands of people in Calgary and surrounding communities and caused billions of dollars in damage.

Homeowners who live on floodways and who will receive disaster aid this time must still have that notation made on their land titles, along with a warning that future funding won't be made available.

For property owners on the fringe of the flood zone and who are receiving aid, the warning will only be removed from their land titles after they meet new mitigation requirements designed to minimize basement damage in any future floods.

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