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What information must a seller legally declare?
Episode 7816th September 2019 • Ask the Estate Agent • David Thomas
00:00:00 00:08:04

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Dreaming about moving into your new home only to discover you have noisy neighbours, non-stop traffic whizzing past, or next-to-no wi-fi signal? Here’s how to do your research…

Whether you are looking for a new home to buy or rent, you’ll want to be sure that it’s a relaxing and enjoyable place to live.

But what if you move in only to discover that you’re living next to the neighbours from hell? Or the incessant noise from the road drives you crazy? Or that there’s planning permission for an industrial project right on your doorstep?

Here we look at the information that a seller or landlord is legally required to give you – as well as the stuff that it is ‘good manners’ for them to pass on to you.

So firstly lets look at

Sellers are legally required to declare certain information

If you are buying your new home, the seller is required to disclose certain pieces of information to you – and if they fail to do so, they could end up in court.

For example, a seller must tell you about a ‘defective title’ if there is no way you could reasonably find out before exchanging contracts. This might, for example, include a right of way across the property that isn’t on the title deeds.

What about the Seller’s Property Information Form?

Sellers are also required to fill in a Property Information Form (or TA6) which gives the buyer lots of information that they would otherwise be unable to find out through surveys or the standard searches.

This includes:

  •       Information on boundaries – including those between you and your neighbours
  •       Details of any disputes or complaints with neighbours
  •       Notices of development or planning permission of properties nearby
  •       Alterations and building work ever done on the property (including details of planning permissions and building regulations approvals – or the absence of)
  •       Information about guarantees and warranties
  •       Buildings insurance details
  •       Information about environmental matters, such as flooding, energy efficiency and Japanese Knotweed.
  •       Details of rights and informal arrangements, such as access or shared use.
  •       Information about parking – including whether the property is in a controlled parking zone or local authority parking scheme.

This form is part of the pre-contract documents, so it’s legally binding. This means that you, as the buyer, can make a claim for compensation if the seller deliberately tries to conceal something – even after the sale has gone through.

Other information may be provided by the seller

As part of the conveyancing process, the seller’s solicitor should provide certain additional information to your solicitor.

This includes details such as where the gas and electricity meters and stopcock are located, and what fixtures and fittings will be left as part of the sale.

However, there is certain information the seller’s solicitor is unlikely to provide, such as the strength of the phone signal and what day the bins are emptied. On these matters, the key is to collect the information yourself and don’t be afraid to ask those questions while you can.

Landlords also have some legal obligations

If you are renting, there are certain legal obligations on the landlord that can’t be ignored.

This includes the safety of the electricity and gas supplies, fire safety throughout the property, protection of deposit funds, and the landlord’s responsibilities for maintenance and repair.

In addition, there are certain issues which fall under the ‘Consumer Protection Regulations’. These include:

  •       Planning activity
  •       Off-road parking
  •       What furniture and other items are being left and
  •       Public rights of way – if a right of way goes through the grounds of the property

These regulations are all-encompassing and require both landlords and agents to tell tenants all ‘material’ information necessary, in order for the tenant to make an informed decision. The law is about what tenants need to know – not what they want to know.

So that concludes this episode of Ask the Estate Agent Podcast. I hope you found this topic useful and highlights a few key areas you should pay particular attention too when searching for your next property.

As ever please do get in touch with your feedback and comments and also let us know about your experiences in negotiating the property market. We would love to hear from you.

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So don’t forget to contact us with any subjects you would like us to cover or questions you would like answering in the coming episodes and until next time I would like to thank you for listening and goodbye for now.

This podcast is brought to you by Liberty Gate

Nottingham’s multi award winning Estate Agency

Source: Zoopla