With all the flurry of the year end, the proposed changes to the shared ownership lease, new capital funding guide and more, you may have pushed the legislation relating to property selling to the back of your minds.

So here is a summary of the salient points to provide a reminder:

  • “Statements” are taken to include verbal and written statements, pictures, photographs, plans, models, websites and any other method of signifying meaning.

  • Consider the content of any statements relating to a property very carefully. These should be neither false nor misleading and should refer to anything which is likely to have an impact on a potential buyer’s decision as to whether to make an offer and proceed with the purchase. Safeguards should include:

    • All statements to be checked by more than one member of staff and by someone with personal knowledge of the property.

    • A regular review all statements to ensure they remain up to date.

    • All available documents referred to as part of the sale to be checked to ensure they are correct and that any statements given in relation to them are accurate.

    • Do not rely on previous statements and assumptions if this can be avoided. Always check their accuracy.

    • Be careful when using descriptive phrases. These are subjective and not factual.

    • Always act reasonably and in good faith.

    • Ensure that all measuring equipment is regularly calibrated.

    • Keep a written records of any replies given to enquiries.

    • Any disclaimers must be bold and precise. Blanket disclaimers are rarely acceptable.

    • Be exact with details of proximity to local amenities.

  • Remember that you are now obliged to disclose adverse matters if they are likely to affect the buyer’s decision to purchase a property regardless of whether disclosure has been requested. Examples include a previous adverse survey or known defects.

  • In the circumstances, it is essential to ensure that no such information is omitted, hidden, or provided in a manner which is unclear or ambiguous to avoid breaching the legislation.