Q. I’m selling my period property which has been under offer for about four weeks now however I’ve hit a major road block as my buyer’s survey has flagged up major structural problems which has resulted in him pulling out of the purchase. Obviously I am keen for my agent to get it back on the market as quickly as possible but given I am now armed with the this information do I need to disclose it to any new Purchasers, or can I play dumb in the hope they go for just a valuation not a homebuyers survey?
A. Yes, I’m afraid things have changed drastically and you now have no choice but to disclose this to any other interested parties. Since June last year, both property sellers and estate agents have been legally required to tell buyers about structural defects as well as any other information that could affect a buyers decision to make an offer on the property. This includes disclosing information with respect to a previous sale falling through because of a bad survey report. Sellers must detail the problems identified, as well as disclose any known defects within the property. The requirement also extends to anything that could inhibit the buyer’s enjoyment of the property, including noisy or problem neighbours. Recent regulatory changes have brought property sales under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading regulations, which came into force in 2008. They protect consumers by requiring traders to disclose everything that might affect a buyer’s decision to proceed with a purchase. Basically complete transparency is the only way forward regardless of the impact it may have on you agreeing another sale on the property. Both Agents and sellers that do not disclose relevant information could face harsh penalties to include criminal charges and up to two years in prison.