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Information to legally declare when selling a property

Hand holding house key with homes in the backgroundWhen selling a property, the seller has a responsibility to disclose certain information that paints a clear picture to a potential buyer. You may believe it’s best to not arm your possible buyer with reasons to not want to go through with the purchase, but failure to inform them of things they have a right to know about can have severe consequences.

Prior to 2013, estate agents and sellers used to employ an idea of ‘caveat emptor’, otherwise known as ‘buyer beware’. This meant that it was the responsibility of the buyer to find out issues related to the property. In other words, if the buyer didn’t ask, then the seller didn’t have to tell. If something came to light after the sale had gone through, it was the buyer’s problem for not asking.

However, this all changed in 2013 when the description and sale of property was placed under the CPR (Consumer Protection Against Unfair Trading Regulations).

So, what does this mean for a property seller? It means that if the seller doesn’t disclose something that could legitimately affect the buyer’s decision, they could face prosecution.

What are the steps to fully disclose information?

Your estate agent should request a Property Information Form (TA6) which will provide you with an opportunity to note down everything related to the house.

Things such as neighbour disputes, nearby planning permission cases, building work that has been carried out on the property, Japanese knotweed or a previous sale collapsing due to survey results being unsatisfactory should be disclosed in a list on this form.

You should inform your estate agent of any concerns you have regarding the property so they can act responsibly and pass the information on, and you must also inform your conveyancing solicitor so that they are aware.

What sort of information is relevant?

If you’re not sure about the relevancy of certain information, it’s best to just be honest and disclose it anyway - or seek advice from your conveyancing solicitor and estate agent.

It's important to remember that the TA6 form isn’t designed to make your home sound awful and unattractive to buyers, it’s to simply provide those buyers with information they deserve to know about beforehand. This will allow them to base their decision on all relevant information regarding the property.

For example, if you don’t particularly see eye-to-eye with your neighbours, that’s fine. But if they are prone to having noisy parties or the police are regularly called to break up disputes, you have a responsibility to disclose this information.

Some things that are commonly disclosed include:

  • The property being located on a flight path or in view of a motorway, or there are plans for this to happen
  • A violent death that took place within the property
  • High levels of crime in the areas
  • A problem with pests or Japanese knotweed, either in the past or at present
  • Neighbours with and Anti-Social Behaviour Order (ASBO)
  • Structural issues with the property
  • Any planning permission, and whether it was granted, is pending, or was denied

Remember, failure to disclose relevant information is a criminal offence, so always err on the side of caution. Being upfront and honest with everything will ensure that no issues arise following the sale.

If you’re selling or buying a home, why not contact our experienced team of solicitors here at Fonseca Law to conduct all your conveyancing needs? We’re based in the heart of Ebbw Vale and offer a wide range of legal services, so contact us today to discuss your requirements. You can call us on 01495 303124, e-mail or complete our online contact form.