With the housing market continuing its strong performance, a leading property litigation lawyer has taken steps to reassure buyers that all is not lost if their dream purchase turns into a nightmare.
Having handled a variety of cases, Kirsten Bridgewater, a partner at Shropshire law firm mfg Solicitors, has reassured homebuyers that if they were sold a property with faults, then there are options available to them.
She said: “Purchasing a property is exciting. However, unforeseen and unexpected disputes relating to the property can arise and can be incredibly stressful.
“If you believe the property purchased does not reflect the property originally advertised then there are still things you can do to improve the situation.
“Although the buyer has a duty to complete due diligence prior to completion of a house purchase, a seller must also disclose any issues on their Seller Property Information Form.
“If the seller has been honest then they cannot normally be held liable.
“However, if a buyer can argue the seller made a false statement which induced the buyer into purchasing the property causing a financial loss, intentional or not, then the compensation route may be an option.
“Issues can include structural damage, damp or local planning developments which could affect the value, much the same way as major road plans or the thorny issue of neighbour disputes.
“If buyers have experienced any of these issues, it is worth considering whether a claim should be made.”
To make a claim, a buyer will need to prove the issue was present at the time of completion and the property has been significantly impacted. Although later timescales can apply, primarily buyers have six years to bring a claim against the seller and, if successful, would seek compensation, for example for the loss in value of the property or the expense of solving the problem where it can be remedied.
As well as claiming against the seller, homeowners may be able to seek compensation from professionals hired in the house buying process including solicitors or conveyancers.
Ms Bridgewater added: “If incorrect advice was given, the client will need to consider whether they would have gone ahead with the purchase if they had received the correct advice.
“The last year has seen the property market make up for lost time during the pandemic which has led to homes being bought and sold in record time, which can lead to mistakes happening and some buyers realising they have bought in haste, but all is not lost if problems do arise.”