I have decided to sell my house which was the scene of a violent and tragic incident before I moved in 12 years ago and which attracted a lot of media attention at the time. Is this something I need to declare to potential buyers?
There is an obligation on all sellers to disclose all information about the property which is within their knowledge. This has been the subject of extensive case law which has established that substantial damages may be awarded to victims of misrepresentation where this can be shown to have an adverse effect on the valuation of the property, or its saleability.
While sellers may choose to rely on the concept of “caveat emptor” or “let the buyer beware”, it is now an established principle that sellers are obliged to disclose all relevant details relating to the property which are within their knowledge. This can range from the existence of any structural issues such as dry rot or damp, to a long-standing neighbour dispute.
Damages were assessed at £67,000.00 in 2008 following a failure on the part of a seller to disclose the existence of an ongoing dispute with a neighbour. Please also note that your Solicitor is also under a duty to disclose information of which he is aware and may have to refuse to accept instructions from a client who is is unwilling for such information to be disclosed.