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Seller Disclosures and Residential Property Selling

Seller Disclosures and Residential Property Selling

What information do sellers need to disclose when selling a residential property?

A seller needs to disclose anything that will have an impact on the buyer’s future use and enjoyment of the property.  This includes things like any physical alterations to the property, insurance claims, planning documents, and any notices received by the seller in respect of nearby properties, such as planning applications.

What are the legal obligations of sellers when disclosing information about a property?

The seller must be truthful in their answers and any deliberate misleading of a buyer can be cause for legal action for misrepresentation.  The answers given by a seller must be based on a genuine belief or understanding of the information they have been made aware of.

What is the Property Information Form (TA6 Form)?

The TA6 Form is a document produced by the Law Society that seller’s fill in which asks questions about the property, such as who is responsible for which boundary feature according to the seller or if there have been any structural alterations to the property, such as the erection of a conservatory, installation of new windows or boilers or extensions.  This form also asks the seller to confirm if they have the relevant Building Control approval for any such works, together with confirmation as to whether the seller holds warranties for the works carried out.  The TA6 also confirms if the property is to be sold with a tenant or if it will be empty on completion.  Perhaps most helpfully, the form tells you who the current utility providers for the property are.  The new TA6 which is due to go into force in June 2024 will also include information as to Council Tax bands, parking availability, coastal erosion and accessibility for those with disabilities.  Please note, this is not an exhaustive list of the matters raised by the TA6 but does provide an indication as to the information contained within it.

What is the Fittings and Contents Form (TA10 Form)?

This form tells you what items the seller is leaving at the property or perhaps taking with them when they move out, such as curtains, carpets and white goods.  It can also include such things like oil or wood, if these are needed for the heating system and in some instances, plants from the garden.  The form also allows the seller to confirm if they are prepared to leave a particular item if the buyer is prepared to pay them for it.

Do sellers need to disclose information about property defects or structural issues?

Yes, a seller does need to disclose this if they are aware of them.

What should sellers disclose about the property's history or any renovations?

When you sell a property, you are doing so on the basis of its whole history and not just the time in which you have owned it.   If you are aware of any matters which might have an impact on the property, such as historic renovations or the property’s particular history, it is always best for the seller to disclose it as if a buyer has a particular concern about the property, they are likely to instruct their solicitor to raise it as an enquiry in any event.

What are sellers required to disclose regarding the property environmental and flood risks?

The seller is obliged to disclose the information that they are aware of, such as if the property (including the garden) has been flooded in the past or if the property is subject to invasive plants, i.e Japanese Knotweed, but the buyer will also need to undertake any searches or surveys that they deem appropriate which will normally include Environmental searches.

Are there any specific disclosures required for properties located in certain areas?

There are no specific disclosures required for properties located in any particular area, as the each property is considered on a case by case basis and may well have different information which needs to be disclosed, even when located on the same street in a town.

Is it mandatory to disclose information about noisy neighbours or disputes with neighbours?

It is required that a seller disclose disputes with neighbours and this is detailed in the TA6 Form.  It is not mandatory to disclose information regarding noisy neighbours but a seller may feel it appropriate to do so.

What should sellers do if they are unsure about what to disclose?

In the event that the seller is not sure what to disclose or not, it may be best to simply make the buyer aware of everything the seller considers appropriate.  The seller would be best to speak to their Conveyancer before doing so, however.

What are sellers required to disclose if the property is leasehold?

They must provide details of their Management Company or companies, as there may be more than one.  They must also advise if the property is subject to the Building Safety Act and provide details of cladding, Service Charges and details of the Lease.  Much of this information will be obtained by their Conveyancer as part of the Conveyancing process.  There is an additional Leasehold Information Form (TA7) which is readily available from the Law Society which the seller will be asked to complete and this sets out in detail the information required from a seller.

Can sellers use previous property inspection reports to fulfil disclosure requirements?

It is possible for a seller to refer to previous searches and reports when replying to enquiries or providing initial information to the buyers’ solicitor, but the buyer needs to be made aware that it is likely that any warranty given by the person who has prepared the report will not pass to them.

How can sellers ensure they are meeting all legal obligations when selling their property?

The best way to ensure this is to fill in the forms supplied by their Conveyancer to the best of their ability.  These forms are designed to be fully comprehensive and it is for the buyer’s Conveyancer to query the replies given to them.

How Does Property Disclosure Impact the Selling Process?

If any information is withheld at the outset which is subsequently revealed by the buyer’s searches, survey or enquiries by their Conveyancer, it may cause the buyer to re-consider their purchase of the property and withdraw or look to renegotiate the price.

 

Is it possible for sellers to avoid legal issues by being transparent in their disclosures?

If the seller is transparent in their disclosures, whilst it may not avoid legal issues, i.e breaches of planning, lack of Building Regulations or breaches of covenants, it will allow the Conveyancers more time to suggest ways to resolve the issues rather than having matters come up at the last minute.

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