Climate change will place increasing numbers of homeowners in ‘property purgatory’, a state of financial insecurity arising from the foreseeability of eventual damage and uncertainty about means to recover their losses. The impacts of climate change-induced sea level rise and storm events are now certain, and exposed properties will likely incur insurance, mortgage and value loss. These effects could occur prior to physical damage, and existing inequities will be magnified. Current legal and institutional arrangements offer no clear pathway for those affected to recover funds in order to relocate themselves. We position property purgatory as an immediate practical challenge for those affected seeking to recover their losses, and as a legal question regarding undefined responsibilities of central and local government.
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