The rush to complete caused by the initial stamp duty holiday and the limitations of Covid have led to a wave of vendors telling porky pies about their property in order to get deals over the line, a leading national law firm has claimed.
London-based solicitors Stephensons says it has seen a nearly two-thirds increase in misrepresentation claims by purchasers who have found not is all as expected once they move into their new home.
Examples over the past 12 months have included vendors who’ve omitted to mention that properties have been flooded in the past, or revealed protracted neighbour disputes over rights of way or shared spaces and strategically placed furniture masking issues with damp.
Half truths and deception
Or to put it more accurately, Stephensons says that vendors, in an attempt to complete property transactions with minimal delays and purchase their next home, have resorted to half-truths and deception on the TA6 Sellers Property Information Form.
This should give a prospective buyer enough information about any issues which may affect the property and help guide their decision on whether they want to go ahead with the purchase.
“The stamp duty holiday has created tunnel vision in the property market,” says Liam Waine (pictured), a partner in the firm’s dispute resolution department.
“In some cases, those looking to buy a home have become so motivated by the potential savings that they are resorting to some underhand tactics in order to sell their current home and avoid costly delays.
“We saw this as we approached the initial stamp duty deadline in March, and we expect it will be the same as the exemption comes to a conclusion at the end of September.”
Agents who have clients who believe they had a case for misrepresentation should contact Stephensons.