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Estate agencies slammed over property listings that ignored cladding crisis

Dangers of not doing due diligence on high-rise residential property instructions highlighted by Basingstoke case.

Nigel Lewis

cladding

Several estate agencies have taken down listings after they were revealed to have been promoting homes for sale within a tower block adversely affected by the cladding scandal.

Branches of Romans and Winkworth in Basingstoke along with three local/hybrid agencies including Vesta, British Homesellers and Express have listed properties at the Crown Heights development.

Since the revelations broke over the weekend, Winkworth and Vespa have subsequently removed their listings from Rightmove.

A Winkworth spokesperson told The Negotiator: “We take our responsibility to provide a full and transparent service to both buyers and sellers seriously. As such, we are issuing all Winkworth offices with specific guidance on marketing properties with cladding.”

All five agencies have been called out by a local newspaper campaign because their listings made no mention of fire safety cladding problems at Crown Heights, which mean buyers at properties within it would struggle to find mortgage lenders.

National Trading Standards have also commented on the case, saying a failure to supply correct information is a breach of Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, the Basingstoke Gazette Reports.

Remediation costs

The adverts featured by the agents also did not make it clear that owners at the property, as well as being ineligible for mortgages, would face higher service charges in the future to help pay the likely cost of remediation at Crown Heights, as well as ongoing round-the-close fire watch costs.

As this case in Basingstoke highlights, while the cladding scandal continues to rumble on agents are facing significantly increased and tricky due diligence requirements when selling homes within the residential towers with cladding.

“Material information should be available to consumers making a property transaction in order for them to be able to make a fully informed decision,” said National Trading Standards spokesperson Emma Cooke.

February 22, 2021

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