Types of housing disputes when buying a property
The famous phrase, ‘let the buyer beware’ sums up a property buyer’s legal position. The phrase means that it is up to the Buyer to ensure all necessary checks have been carried out before they purchase.
However, professionals involved in the Property transaction and the Seller themselves do have legal responsibilities which protect the Buyer. When they do not fulfil their duties, this can cause disputes.
Here are some types of housing disputes that can arise when buying a residential property.
When a buyer and seller exchange contacts on a property, the buyer normally pays the Seller a deposit. A date is then set for completion of the purchase, which is usually within twenty working days.
If a seller does not complete, the Buyer’s solicitor can serve a Notice to Complete. This means that if the Seller does not complete within a specified time frame, the Buyer can claim their deposit back with interest and cancel the Contract.
Although there is a legal obligation for the Seller to return the Deposit, they do not have to reimburse all the other costs involved in buying a property, such as surveyor’s and solicitor’s fees. Fortunately, it is very rare for this type of dispute to occur.
Disputes with surveyors
When a buyer instructs a surveyor to inspect a property they are planning to buy, they expect that the Surveyor will highlight any problems.
However, sometimes surveyors fail to identify important defects. This could be because a seller has covered up a problem or because the Surveyor has been negligent.
Surveyors have different levels of responsibilities depending upon the type of survey the Buyer has requested. There are different types of surveys, including mortgage valuation surveys, homebuyers reports, and full structural surveys. With every type of survey, a surveyor has a duty to carry out the survey with care and skill.
If your surveyor has missed something on a property you have bought, it can have practical and financial consequences. Our specialist housing dispute solicitors can advise you about your options so you can decide what action to take.
Claims against sellers
Sellers do not have a legal responsibility to disclose property defects to buyers voluntarily. They must, however, give honest answers on the Property information form they complete as part of the conveyancing process. If the Seller does not tell the truth on the Form the Buyer can claim for misrepresentation.
Misrepresentation claims can be about structural defects, issues with damp, disputes with neighbours, building works that affect a property, Japanese Knotweed growing in the garden and much more.
If you believe a seller has been dishonest, our solicitors can advise you about making a claim against them and discuss the likely outcome with you.