29 February 2024

The information you must provide when selling your home

By Stephanie Connor, Associate Solicitor, Hayes + Storr.

When selling your home, you may recall the expression ‘buyer beware’. But what does this mean, and is it still relevant today? Nowadays, there is more legal protection in place for buyers, who also now expect greater transparency.

If you’re selling a property, it is important to provide the correct information, and to get the right advice about any problems.

What information must I give to potential buyers?

Firstly, you must disclose any latent title defects you are aware of. A ‘latent’ defect is one which the buyer could not reasonably discover from inspecting the property. For example, a right of drainage or any problems with your drains, or a restriction affecting the use of your home.

Secondly, the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 places anyone acting as a business under certain duties which include not withholding information which the buyer may need to make an informed decision. While you may not be a business, the regulations apply to your estate agent and solicitor including to statements they make on your behalf.

Discuss any issues with your estate agent and solicitor early on. This will enable them to give you the best advice and will help your transaction to progress smoothly.

What information should I disclose when selling my home?

Most buyers will expect you to provide information about your home, and replying to their solicitor’s enquiries is an established part of the conveyancing process.

There is a standard form for this (the TA6) which your solicitor will ask you to complete, covering topics such as boundaries, insurance and whether you have had any disputes with neighbours.

It is not a legal requirement to complete the form, or to answer all the questions. But, refusing to do so may raise suspicions and could delay or even jeopardise your sale.

What if there is something that may put off my buyers?

It is important to discuss any concerns with your solicitor early on. Do not be tempted to lie or tell a half-truth. If you do, and the buyers rely on that statement, you may be liable for misrepresentation. In a worst-case scenario, your buyers could reject the contract and you may have to pay them compensation.

How can my solicitor help me?

If there is something you think may concern potential buyers, talk to your solicitor. They can advise you on the best approach, one which will not expose you to unnecessary risk while hopefully reassuring your buyers. Often there will be a relatively straightforward solution. For example, if there is a technical breach of planning or building regulations, it is usually possible to buy an insurance policy to satisfy any concerns.

How we can help

For further information, please contact Stephanie Connor in the residential property team on 01263 712835 or email stephanie.connor@hayes-storr.com.

This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Please note that the law may have changed since this article was published.