New Rules Force Sellers to Disclose More

New Rules Force Sellers to Disclose More

Homeowners looking to put their property on the market need to be aware of new legislation regarding the information they provide to potential buyers. Instead of putting the onus on the buyer to ask specific questions, sellers will now have to inform them if there are any issues with the property or the surrounding area.

What Information Needs to Be Disclosed?

If a seller knows of any problems with the property that could change a buyer’s decision, then they need to make them aware of these before they request a survey. This includes structural problems or the fact that a sale has already collapsed due to problems that came up in a survey and what these were. These changes will also put more emphasis on informing buyers about problems with neighbours. This can range from a long-term issue through to just a minor problem such as the odd loud party.

The new legislation doesn’t just affect sellers but also the estate agents. If they are aware of any problems and fail to tell a buyer, they could have criminal charges brought against them; with a maximum two-year prison sentence. The seller will face the same charges if they don’t tell the agent in the first place.

This new legislation has come about because of changes to how property sales are governed. They are now enforced through the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading regulations. They apply to all sales of goods where the trader needs to tell a buyer everything that could have an impact on their decision. These regulations are enforced by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), as well as the Trading Standards Institute.

How Will This Affect the Property Market?

The changes to the regulations are likely to have some impact on the property market, but we’ll have to wait and see what the final issues will be. It could be that buyers will simply lower their offer to take into account any necessary work on a property, which could be anything from minor repairs to glass balustrades to structural damage. Another result could be that a sale falls through altogether, but it’s unlikely that this will occur on a regular basis.

For new sellers or those with a property currently on the market, you should seek advice on what information you are obliged to disclose and ensure your buyers are adequately informed before proceeding