One of the big rules of property purchases is to understand exactly what you are getting for your money.
This is the reason your solicitor will carry out searches, and it is why you will instruct a surveyor to report on the property’s condition. It is also the reason you will require the seller of the property to answer certain questions, the answers to which should draw out any potential problems.
Sellers are not always as open or as honest as they ought to be and some property information forms paint an inaccurate picture. When that happens, and the false information informs your decision to proceed with the purchase of the property, you have the right to take action against the seller.
At Eric Robinson Solicitors our expert lawyers regularly advise purchasers who wish to bring claims against their vendors. Misrepresentation is rarely clear-cut, but our lawyers are skilled in analysing the detail, and in framing the legal arguments so that they have the best chances of succeeding. While some cases reach a final hearing in the courts, we are usually able to resolve them before they get that far, either through negotiation or through alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation. It is part of our commitment to bringing clients’ problems to an end on the best terms, and as quickly and inexpensively as possible.
If you think you have a property misrepresentation issue, contact us today.
At Eric Robinson Solicitors our specialist lawyers can provide a no-obligation, fixed-fee one-hour interview for £150 plus VAT (£180) to help you establish and understand your legal position. If you decide to instruct us beyond this initial meeting then we will discuss with you the various funding options that may be available and we will help you find the one to suit you.
What is property misrepresentation or mis-selling?
In legal terms, property misrepresentation occurs when a seller fails to disclose or knowingly misrepresents any of their answers on the seller’s property information form or in response to further enquiries raised. If a seller gives inaccurate or incomplete information, the buyer could claim compensation, even after the property sale has gone through. The Misrepresentation Act 1967 helps to protect UK buyers who are persuaded to buy something that isn’t as it seems.
What is a TA6 or SPIF disclosure form?
In a property transaction, the seller must complete a property information form (also called a SPIF), a Law Society Transaction form coded TA6. Once completed, the prospective buyer can make a fully informed decision on whether to proceed with the purchase. The seller of a property must complete the form honestly and truthfully.
What are the different types of Misrepresentation?
There are three types of misrepresentation:
- Fraudulent misrepresentation – The seller intentionally gives false information or withholds requested information when asked directly during pre-contract enquiries.
- Negligent or Reckless misrepresentation – The seller fails to check the accuracy of the information provided.
- Innocent misrepresentation – The seller makes a mistake.
Can I sue a property seller for misrepresentation?
If you believe that the property information form painted an inaccurate picture, which subsequently informed your decision to proceed with the purchase of the property, you may have a misrepresentation claim against the seller. However, you will need to evidence that they:
- answered an enquiry inaccurately or incorrectly; and
- prove that the seller was aware of the issue before you bought the property
At Eric Robinson Solicitors our specialist property dispute lawyers regularly advise purchasers who wish to bring claims against their vendors. We can assess your case and guide you on the best steps moving forward.
What are common examples of property misrepresentation?
Inaccurate or untrue statements resulting in misrepresentation can involve a wide range of issues. Some of the most common include:
- Structural issues
- Damp problems
- Inaccurate information regarding boundaries
- Details of any disputes or complaints with neighbours
- Information about parking – including whether the property is in a controlled parking zone or local authority parking scheme
The list above is only a brief example of the types of issues that can arise. If you think you have a property misrepresentation issue, contact our team so you can establish and understand your legal position.
Can I sue my surveyor?
If your property surveyor failed to notice issues with the property, in particular, if they relate to the condition of the property, you may have a potential professional negligence claim against the surveyor. At Eric Robinson Solicitors our expert lawyers will explain all the options to you and guide you on the most appropriate solution for your situation.
Is there a time limit?
After selling a house, the statute of limitations (the length of time within which a claim can be made) is six years for fraudulent misrepresentation claims. Time limits depend on the circumstances involved but in the normal course a period of six years applies, and this time limit is deemed to run from date of the transaction. In some cases, the time limit can be extended beyond 6 years because you will be allowed a period of three years from the date that you become aware of the issue. It is often the case that issues do not become known until more than six years after the date of your purchase. Whatever your circumstances, you should speak to a solicitor as soon as an issue becomes known to find out if you can still make a claim.
What must a seller disclose when selling a property?
There is no legal requirement for a seller to voluntarily disclose any issues or defects with the property. However, they have a duty to honestly and accurately answer all enquiries raised directly about issues of concern in relation to the property. Typically, enquiries are usually made by the seller being asked to complete the seller’s property information form.
Property misrepresentation occurs when sellers knowingly and dishonestly withhold information or knowingly provide false information in response to enquiries.
What are the remedies to Misrepresentation?
In many cases, compensation may be payable, or courts may order some other form of recompense. It usually depends on the defect discovered and when it was discovered. For example, if an undisclosed issue is found between exchange and completion, the buyer has the right to refuse to complete the sale, ask for a reduction in the purchase price, or be entitled to damages. If the defect is discovered after completion, the buyer may be able to claim damages in respect of a breach of contract for misrepresentation. A buyer could be entitled to claim damages if there is a significant difference between the description or value of the property and how it truly is. The court could also order a rescission of the property sale contract. Effectively this results in the sale being ‘undone’, and the property is passed back to the seller, with the purchase price recovered in addition to any damages incurred.
The property dispute resolution team at Eric Robinson Solicitors has significant expertise in this area. We can advise you on the options available to you and guide you through the process of making a property misrepresentation claim.
Will I have to go to court?
While some cases reach a final hearing in the courts, we can usually resolve them before they get that far, either through negotiation or alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation. It is part of our commitment to bringing clients’ problems to an end on the best terms and as quickly and inexpensively as possible.
How to make a property misrepresentation claim
If you have concerns regarding a recently purchased property and require more advice on property misrepresentation claims, our expert lawyers have specialist knowledge in this complex area of law. Our property dispute lawyers are skilled in analysing the detail and in framing the legal arguments so that you have the best chances of succeeding. We can assist you with each stage of a property misrepresentation claim, including
- Pre-action negotiations
- Application to court
- Preliminary hearing
- Alternative dispute resolution, including mediation
Litigation proceedings and Court appearance
Your message has been received. We will get back to you shortly.Send another enquiry
Client Complaints Solicitor
Dispute Resolution Department