Property Misrepresentation Solicitors
Buying a house can be complicated and stressful, even when the move goes well. However, if you’re unhappy with your property and feel that the seller of the house was dishonest in the process of the purchase, you may be able to claim for property misrepresentation.
Our specialist team provides expert legal advice in different languages to clients who have been involved in a wide range of property legal matters, including disputes over the sale or purchase of properties.
What is property misrepresentation?
In the course of a property transaction, it’s inevitable that the buyer and seller will exchange a great deal of information about the house. It’s likely that others may be part of this process, such as estate agents who prepare details of the house to show on their website or to hand out to prospective buyers.
If the seller, their estate agent or both of them gave incorrect or inaccurate information in the course of the sale of the house, this could mislead you as the buyer. If this information influenced you in your decision to buy the property, this could amount to property misrepresentation.
How does property misrepresentation occur?
The information exchanged during a property transaction can include subjective information. For example, the estate agent’s website might describe the house as being “beautifully appointed” or “full of character”. Neither statement could be substantiated and it is up to the buyer to view the property and decide how they feel about.
However, a lot of the information provided by the seller is factual, specific and does form part of the legal process of buying the house. Pre-contract enquiries are how the buyer and seller exchange information about the house. The Property Information Form is a key part of this process. Many solicitors use standard forms provided by The Law Society. These include a warning to the seller of the importance of providing accurate information.
These forms are at the heart of most property misrepresentation claims. Because they are written, they provide very specific information and they contain clear warnings, inaccuracies on this form are relatively easy to prove and harder for the seller to defend.
Misrepresentation can also arise from any other form of communication during the transaction, including face to face conversations. However, unless backed up in writing, these can be inherently much harder to prove.
If a misrepresentation has been made during the purchase of a property, you will also need to prove:
- That the false information given had a material effect upon your decision – for example had you known the truth would you have still bought the property or would you have offered less for it?
- That you have suffered in some way as a result of the misrepresentation, such as a financial loss.
If you believe that you have suffered financially or in any other way after buying or selling a property, we recommend that you seek legal advice at the first opportunity.
What could the outcome be for property misrepresentation?
In extreme cases, courts can order a rescission of the contract – ordering both parties to effectively “undo” the transaction and be returned to the position they would otherwise have been in. However, such a drastic measure is very rare.
Courts will always look to agree a fair level of damages instead. For example, if the correct information would’ve led you to offer less for the property, payment of damages. Only if damages couldn’t possibly compensate for the misrepresentation, would there be a possibility that the contract might be rescinded.
How do I start the process of claiming for property misrepresentation?
Call us on 0208 1111 911 or contact us through the website and we’ll discuss your circumstances with you. On the first call, we should be able to tell you whether or not we think the representation is sufficiently serious to require legal action.