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The seller's secret - property misrepresentation

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Selling your property can be an exciting time. You may be moving to your dream home and just cannot wait for the transaction to complete. You show potential buyers around the property, hoping that they won’t notice that imperfect paint job you did in the living room or the pen marks on the wall in your toddler’s bedroom, so that you can sell the property as quickly as possible. Whilst minor things like this are unlikely to cause any issues or even hold up a sale further down the line, there is the potential for some issues relating to the property to cause problems. That annoying neighbour that you fight with constantly because they don’t park correctly on the shared driveway. That damp patch that would be all too easy to paint over and make ‘disappear’ for the viewing. So what do you do?

Although it might seem easy to not say anything and keep issues to yourself, this could result in serious implications down the line if these come to light after completion.  If you hide something from a buyer or lie about issues relating to the property then this could open you up to a misrepresentation claim being made against you.

When you sell a property there are countless opportunities to provide information to a buyer.  Whether this is during the initial viewings, in the Property Information Form (a form (TA6) which sellers are required to complete giving information about the property that they are selling), or when responding to any further enquiries made by a buyer.  It is important that you answer all questions that you are asked about the property honestly and truthfully.  Whilst you do not need to volunteer information about the property, if a question is asked you should answer this truthfully and take steps to ensure that you have given as much information as possible.  If you have any doubts then you should always ask your conveyancing solicitor before answering any questions. 

If a claim is brought against you for misrepresentation then you may find yourself being liable for damages if the claim is successful.  A buyer may even be able to rescind the contract meaning you have to pay them back the full amount paid for the property and the contract is treated as though it was never made.

If you are contacted in relation to a misrepresentation claim being made against you then we may be able to assist. We have a specialist team that deals with these sorts of claims, contact us

By Alysia Leigh, dispute resolution team