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Monday, April 22, 2024

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What legal information must be disclosed when selling a home?

If you are a seller, you are required by law to advise prospective buyers of all known facts about the property, both good and bad. Even though it would be tempting to just share favourable information about a property to entice purchasers to submit an offer, doing so is against the law and might have negative effects on both your reputation and your finances. To ensure that any sale that is agreed upon is done so on the basis of good information for both parties, your Harrow estate agent will work with you to communicate issues to potential purchasers early in the process. However, this will then be formalised through the conveyancing process to ensure your obligations as a seller are fulfilled and the buyer’s rights are protected.

In this post, we go into further detail regarding the disclosures that must be made when selling a home, including the most crucial ones.

What must the home sellers disclose?

The most important thing to keep in mind is that you must be truthful and reveal all information that is known about the property, both good and bad. Under no circumstances are secrecy or deception allowed; they could even result in legal action. Practically, the Property Information Form (TA6), which is described in more detail below, is where information regarding the property is disclosed.

What’s called a Caveat emptor?

For a long time, it was the buyer’s duty to look into every facet of the property and find any potential problems. This was referred to as the “buyer beware” or “caveat emptor” principle. Caveat emptor effectively meant that the buyer was responsible for learning about any known or unknown flaws in the property, therefore the seller was not obligated by law to reveal them.

However, the Consumer Protection Against Unfair Trading Regulations now apply to property sales. As a result, the seller’s obligation to disclose anything that might influence the buyer’s choice to acquire the property was essentially overturned. A vendor may even be prosecuted if they wilfully fail to disclose something significant that they are aware of.

The Property Data Form (TA6)

Everyone involved in the sale of a home is aware that several forms must be completed. The Property Information Form (TA6), which is often issued from the buyer’s solicitor to the seller’s solicitor, is one of the most crucial documents. In the selling process, the TA6 form is essential.

Sellers must provide information about the property under various categories on the TA6 form. It is crucial for sellers to provide in the TA6 form all the information that they are aware of. The best course of action in this situation is honesty, which will help you avoid preventable issues both during and after the contract’s signing.

As we hinted at above, lying or purposefully hiding crucial information regarding the residence could result in legal action against a seller. Filling out the TA6 form truthfully and to the best of your knowledge is crucial since it is typically the document that a buyer will use to support their claim if they want to take legal action against you.

If you are open and honest about the house and its problems, a potential buyer and their attorney will respond favourably. In fact, the buyer’s solicitor is likely to be suspicious if you provide only a few specifics concerning the house’s issues. Additionally, the buyer may demand that you lower the price of the property or make the necessary repairs if they find issues with it before the sale is finalised.

What Should Be Disclosed Most Importantly?

It is crucial to submit all pertinent information, even if you believe that doing so may hurt your prospects of selling your home. After all, if you don’t, you can end up facing legal consequences.

The following important and pertinent topics need to be disclosed:

  • Difficulties with flooding, whether they are present or not
  • Any recognised structural problems with the property
  • Plans for construction and development in the area (if applicable)
  • A nearby planned flight path or one that is scheduled
  • Pest issues
  • Japanese knotweed issues
  • Sales that have already failed in the past
  • Neighbours have restraining orders against them (ASBOs)
  • Any neighbourhood burglaries that have been reported
  • A neighbourhood with a high crime rate
  • There was a brutal death on the premises.

If you have any questions regarding what information you must provide, we recommend that you talk with a lawyer. Your conveyancer solicitor will be equipped with all the knowledge necessary to advise you thanks to the assistance of our knowledgeable conveyancing partners, Legally Prepared.

How Can I make Prospective Buyers confident?

Buyers will feel more at ease if you can show proof that problems have been fixed.

You can show that the issues have been remedied by providing documentation if you have mentioned a previous problem with the property that has now been fixed. For instance, if there were issues with mould in the home, you can present documentation that demonstrates corrective actions were completed to get rid of the mould permanently.

Even if the house you are selling has problems, it is important to keep in mind that practically every home and piece of property will have some underlying problems.

The decision to proceed with the purchase or go elsewhere rests with the buyer after you have given them all the information they need to make an informed decision about the property and any assurances you were able to offer.