"White lies or vagueness can rebound even after you have moved out, as a buyer can still legally seek compensation."
Many Brits are keeping certain problems with their home a secret in the hope of increasing their chances of a sale, despite disclosing any issues being a legal obligation, according to new research from Boiler Plan.
Almost half (47%) of Brits admit that they would not disclose any issues with their neighbours in an effort to increase their chances of a sale on their home. However, it is a legal obligation to disclose issues that have involved official bodies – such as noise complaints to the council.
13% of homeowners wouldn’t notify a possible house buyer of increased crime sprees, such as local burglaries, which again, they are legally obliged to.
Similarly, 13% stated they wouldn’t make the possible house buyer aware of issues with surface damage to the home, such as a broken fence or bad paintwork, which could cost the future home buyer an average of £600 to fix.
6% of Brits would not disclose structural damage of their home. With the average repair cost for subsidence, which is the most common structural issue, costing between £10,000 - £15,000, it should come as no surprise that many buyers could seek compensation for being misinformed about the structural damage of the home.
As part of their research, Boiler Plan analysed the regional data of their survey results to uncover who is the most (and least) honest when it comes to the most popular lie identified: having issues with neighbours.
Residents in the North West are the most honest with 66% stating they would disclose any problems with their neighbours.
Comparatively, less than half (46%) of homeowners in the West Midlands, East of England, Northern Ireland and Wales admitted they would disclose information about their bad neighbours.
Ian Henderson, manging director of Boiler Plan, commented: “It’s very concerning the number of people who would hide information regarding their property to potential buyers. We advocate being as honest as possible to make sure the buyer has everything they need to make the right decision. Not doing so could potentially cost you so much more, as buyers could look to seek compensation and repair costs.”
Zoe Kenworthy, director of sales and lettings at Wardsmith & Co, added: “The 2008 Consumer Protection Against Unfair Trading Regulations requires a seller to inform their estate agent – and any potential buyer - of material information that may affect an average consumer’s transactional decision, not only to buy a property but even “an omission that may affect a potential buyer’s decision to view a property”.
"This will include issues you may have with your boundaries or other disputes with neighbours; notices of any developments nearby; whether the correct approvals have been obtained for building works such as building regulations or the freeholders consent for alterations such as a loft conversion; any significant occurrences at the property, such as a murder or a suicide; and details of any major defects you are aware of. White lies or vagueness can rebound even after you have moved out, as a buyer can still legally seek compensation."