Failing to Disclose Information When Selling Your House
You may have read in the news recently that a couple have been sued for £300,000 for failing to disclose to their buyers the fact that an American-style drive-thru and motel was due to open near to the £1m property they were selling.
The parties had exchanged contracts which meant the buyers were legally bound to complete the purchase of the property when they found out about the plans for the motel. They argued that the sellers of the property should have disclosed the information to them prior to exchange of contracts.
Failing To Disclose Information
When selling a property, the seller is asked to complete a Property Information Form (TA6) which is a 16 page form asking various questions about the property to be sold. One such question asks whether the sellers are aware of any proposals for development of land or property nearby. The couple selling the million-pound house did not disclose the plans for the motel despite knowing about them and previously objecting to them. The buyers argued that, as a result of their non-disclosure, they were entitled to rip up the contract and pull out of buying the property.
The sellers have stated that at the time of filling in the form, they did not think that the motel would affect the property and so they did not mention it. The case has not yet been decided but it is a stark reminder that failing to disclose information could lead to costly litigation.
If you are selling a property, my advice is to be honest and open in answering the questions in the Property Information Form and any enquiries posed by the buyer’s solicitor. Failing to disclose relevant information can have serious consequences, so it is always best to be upfront and clear from the outset so there are no problems after the sale completes.