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How do I make a claim for property misrepresentation?

View profile for Joanne Ellis
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Help to Buy ISAs explained

Navigating property misrepresentation claims in the UK: a comprehensive guide

Buying a property is often one of the most significant investments that individuals make in their lifetime. However, what happens when the dream home you thought you were purchasing turns out to be the opposite due to misrepresentation?

In the UK, consumers have legal avenues to pursue claims for property misrepresentation. In this post, we will delve into the steps involved in making a claim for property misrepresentation, to ensure you have the correct knowledge to protect your interests.

What is property misrepresentation?

Property misrepresentation occurs when false statements or misleading information is provided about a property by the seller, which then influences the buyer’s decision to purchase.

Misrepresentation can take various forms, such as false descriptions of the property’s condition, size or amenities, undisclosed issues like structural defects or planning disputes, or misleading statements about the property’s history or potential for development.

Types of misrepresentation

  1. Fraudulent misrepresentation: This involves knowingly providing false information with the intention to deceive the buyer.
  2. Negligent misrepresentation: Occurs when the seller fails to exercise reasonable care in providing accurate information.
  3. Innocent misrepresentation: Despite the seller’s belief in the truth of the statement, it later turns out to be false.

Steps to make a claim

  1. Gather evidence: You should collect all relevant documents, including the sale particulars, TA6 form, survey reports, correspondence with the seller/their agent, and any other evidence supporting your claim.
  2. Consult legal advice: You should seek guidance from a solicitor who specialises in property disputes. They will be able to assess the strength of your case, advise you on the appropriate legal remedies you may have available and represent you throughout the process.
  3. Notification: You should notify the seller and/or their agent of the misrepresentation in writing. This should be clear, outlining the false statements made and the resulting financial or non-financial losses incurred.
  4. Negotiation and mediation: In many cases involving property misrepresentation, disputes can be resolved through negotiation or mediation. This is where a neutral third party helps facilitate a mutually acceptable resolution.
  5. Consider alternative dispute resolution (ADR): If negotiation fails, you may be able to consider ADR methods such as arbitration or adjudication, which can offer a quicker and more cost-effective alternative to court proceedings.
  6. Court proceedings: As a last resort, initiating court proceedings may be necessary to pursue your claim. Your solicitor will be able to guide you through the litigation process and be able to represent your interests in court.

Legal remedies

If you are successful in proving property misrepresentation, the following remedies may be available:

  1. Rescission: The contract will be declared void and both parties are returned to their pre-contractual positions.
  2. Damages: This is financial compensation to cover losses suffered as a result of the misrepresentation, including any consequential damages.
  3. Rectification: This is correction of the contract terms to reflect the accurate representations made by the seller.

To make a claim for property misrepresentation in the UK can be complex, requiring a careful navigation of the evidential requirements and legal processes. By understanding the types of misrepresentation, steps involved in making a claim and the available legal remedies, buyers can protect their interests and seek redress for any harm suffered in the transaction.

Knowledge is power when it comes to safeguarding your rights as a buyer and if you believe that you were misrepresented by a seller in a property purchase, and you require specialist legal assistance, Stephensons' dispute resolution team can assist, call us on 0161 696 6178.