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Read more articles in: Blog, Lorraine Walker, Property

How to deal with hidden problems when your home sale is completed

The sale has been completed, the removal people have left and many of the boxes are unpacked.

You are in your new home, so now is the time to put your feet up and relax. But unfortunately, there could still be some hidden surprises which may have been missed during the sale.

What can be done?

It is easy to ignore or overlook what could be a problem because you think you have found your dream home.

Throughout the house buying process, the vendor will be asked to disclose various pieces of information about the property and the state it is in on, for example, the Property Information Form.

If there are false answers, the vendor could face legal action for breach of contract under The Misrepresentation Act.

Commission a full survey

Many of these potential problems will come to light if a full property survey is undertaken, usually by a chartered surveyor.

If something key is missed off the survey at the time of inspection, then it may be possible t bring a professional negligence claim against the surveyor.   If successful, they would be required to pay you compensation.

What could be deemed as an undisclosed problem?

  • Neighbour disputes
  • Damp/dry rot
  • Structural defects
  • Works that have been carried out without planning permission
  • A new planned development in the area that could affect a property’s value i.e a major road.

Generally, when finding fault with a product there is legal protection. It can be taken back to where it was purchased from for a refund or replacement, but it’s more complicated with property.

As a buyer you will need to prove the following to claim against the vendor:

  • The information was false at the time contracts were signed
  • Your asset has been significantly impacted to your detriment
  • The misrepresentation is a fact and not your opinion
  • The information influenced your decision to buy the home.

Because a buyer often won’t know about a problem until they’ve lived in the property for a while, there is a time limit of up to six years to start proceedings.

Speak with your property solicitor or your conveyancer to ascertain how strong a case you may or may not have as soon as you are aware of it.

Need legal advice on any possible misrepresentation of details connected to your home purchase? Contact us.

Lorraine Walker

Solicitor – litigation and dispute resolution

Prior to qualifying as a solicitor, I worked within the education sector as a senior leader in a secondary school.