What Do You Legally Have to Disclose When Selling a House

When you sell a home, there are several items you are required by law to disclose to the buyer. These factors would determine if the buyer decided to move forward with the transaction.

This includes any declarations or suggestions, issues with the environment, and structural difficulties. Additionally, it’s critical to document any disputes and complaints. The better, the more details you give. Prospective buyers want assurances that their investment is safe.

Most of this information is included on the TA6 form, which must be completed as part of the conveyancing process. Sellers must also provide the necessary evidence to support the facts they disclose about the property. This includes the condition of the house and any external factors that could affect it.

Do You Have to Disclose Problems When Selling?

If the Party Wall Act and property boundaries are in doubt, you will need to disclose who you think is a “bad neighbour” even though you are not compelled to.

The majority of the time, disputes with neighbours are resolved when a resident moves out. However, if there have been serious problems with a neighbour, potential purchasers should be made aware of them.

This is demonstrated by any known neighbours who have received a civil injunction and criminal conduct order. If they are likely to have an impact on the buyer’s enjoyment of the home or the property value, they must be declared.

What Do You Need to Tell the Buyer?

When selling a property, it is crucial to disclose any information that could potentially influence the buyer’s decision. Failure to do so may lead to legal consequences.

Property Information Form (TA6) during Conveyancing

As part of the conveyancing process, sellers are required to complete the TA6 Property Information Form. This form is specifically designed to provide prospective buyers with vital details about the property.

Mandatory Disclosures

The following information must be disclosed to the buyer:

  • Property boundaries between neighbors and any Party Wall Act notices.
  • Any disputes with neighbors.
  • Notices or proposals (for example, from the local council).
  • Building works which are in progress or recently completed and if the correct building regulations were obtained.
  • Details of building insurance.
  • Environmental matters such as flood risks. An Energy Performance Certificate must also be provided.
  • Rights and informal arrangements including access rights, shared use, and any obscure local laws.
  • Parking availability and rules for the property.
  • Details of occupiers if the property is sold with existing tenants.
  • Services include electricity, central heating, drainage, and sewage details.

Do You Have to Disclose if Someone Died in Your House?

If the death was violent, then it should be declared. However, it is a gray area when it comes to natural death. It may put some buyers off, but it is unlikely to dramatically decrease the value of a property in the way a murder or suicide would.

According to a survey from Sell House Fast, 36% of Brits surveyed said they would not buy a property where someone had died. Additionally, 44% of participants stated they would have second thoughts about the purchase. This may make sellers reluctant to disclose whether a death has occurred on the property.

If a violent and traumatic death or deaths took place on the property, this should be disclosed under Consumer Protection regulations. Both estate agents and property vendors must reveal any information that could impact the value of the property.

What Happens If You Lie or Knowingly Withhold Information

If you withhold information or lie about your property, you could face prosecution. The buyer may also be entitled to claim damages.

This is often the difference between what the buyer paid for the home and the amount they would have paid if they had known about the issue.

Even if you unintentionally mislead the buyer, you could be in breach of the Misrepresentation Act. In extreme cases, the sale can be voided completely, and the seller must cover the buyer’s expenses.

What Else Should a Seller or Estate Agent disclose when?

In addition to the TA6 form and serious incidents such as a murder on the property, there are some concerns that should be made clear to the buyer.

These include but are not limited to:

  • If previous sales have fallen through and why.
  • Any known structural issues.
  • Any pests or protected animals on the property (such as bats in the attic).
  • High levels of crime in the area.
  • If drug production has taken place at the property.

What is Caveat Emptor?

Caveat Emptor is Latin for “let the buyer beware.” In the past, estate agents and sellers operated with “caveat emptor” in mind when it comes to a property sale. Although there are regulations in place for the seller to declare anything that could impact the property’s value, the buyer is under an obligation to discover defects for themselves.

They are also strongly advised to arrange a property survey. Additionally, buyers are encouraged to carefully review the documents provided by their conveyancer.

A buyer must be able to prove misrepresentation if they find an issue with the home once the sale is final. It is, therefore, essential that the buyer is fully informed of the condition of the home. This is for their own sake, but it is also in the interest of the seller, their solicitor, and the estate agent.

How is it Different in Scotland?

When it comes to selling a house in Scotland, there are a few differences. One of these is that the seller is legally required to organize a Home Report. This includes an Energy Report, a Single Survey, and a Property Questionnaire.

The first two elements of the Home Report are completed by a RICS-accredited surveyor. The questionnaire must be filled out honestly and accurately by the seller. The report must be available to all potential buyers. This enables them to make an informed decision on the purchase.

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