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What Do You Legally Have to Disclose When Selling a House UK

Adele MacGregor

Written by

21st Jul 2022 (Last updated on 18th Aug 2022) 5 minute read

When you sell a property, there are aspects of the property you legally need to make your buyer aware of. These are factors that would impact the buyer’s decision to continue with the sale. This includes structural issues, environmental matters and any notices or proposals. Any disputes and complaints should also be noted.

This must be done before the sale completes. Most buyers will want to know this information, whether it was a requirement or not. Potential buyers want to know their investment is sound and the more detailed you are, the better.

As part of the conveyancing process, you will need to get the necessary paperwork in order. Much of this will support or confirm what you disclose about the property. This includes the condition and external factors that could impact the home.

This article will cover the following:
  1. Do You Have to Disclose Problems When Selling?
  2. Property Information Form (TA6)
  3. What Else Do You Legally Have to Disclose When Selling a House?
  4. What Happens If You Lie or Knowingly Withhold Information
  5. Selling a House with Issues

Do You Have to Disclose Problems When Selling?

In the past, estate agents and sellers have operated with “caveat emptor” in mind when it comes to a property sale. Caveat Emptor is Latin for “let the buyer beware”. In property, this means the buyer is under an obligation to discover any defects.

Since 2013, however, the description and sale of the property have come under the CPR. This stands for the Consumer Protection Against Unfair Trading Regulations.

As a result, the seller must declare anything that may affect the buyer's decision to buy the home. Failure to do so could result in prosecution.

That said, it is up to the buyer to arrange a property survey in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It is not a legal requirement but it is recommended as it can provide a detailed overview of the home

Selling a House in Scotland

When it comes to selling a house in Scotland, there are a few differences. One of these is that the seller is legally required to organise a Home Report. This includes an Energy Report, a Single Survey and a Property Questionnaire.

The first two elements of the Home Report are completed by a RICS accredited surveyor. The questionnaire must be filled out honestly and accurately by the seller. The report must be available to all potential buyers. This enables them to make an informed decision on the purchase.

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Property Information Form (TA6)

During the conveyancing process, sellers must fill in TA6 Property Information Form. This is designed to give a prospective buyer key information about the property.

You will also be required to fill out a TA10 Fixtures and Fittings form as part of the conveyancing process. Here you must delcare the amenities within the home and what is included in the sale.ds

The TA6 Form is a legally binding document, made up of fourteen different sections. These all relate to information the seller knows or has access to about the property. They include:

1. Boundaries: Boundaries: This relates to property boundaries between neighbours. You should include any notices given as per the Party Wall Act.

2. Disputes or Complaints: A seller must state if there are any disputes with neighbours.

3. Notices and Proposals: Any notices or proposals (for example, from the local council).

4. Alterations, Planning and Building Control: Details of building works which are in progress or recently completed. Sellers should also include whether the correct building regulations were obtained.

5. Guarantees and Warranties: Documentation for any works carried out on the property. Examples of this are for underpinning or electrical work.

6. Insurance: Details of any building insurance

7. Environmental Matters: Declaring Japanese Knotweed or known flood risks. The seller must also provide an Energy Performance Certificate.

8. Rights and Informal Arrangements; This section covers access rights, shared use and any obscure local laws.

9. Parking: Parking availability/rules for the property.

10. Other Charges: Such as a management company for the property.

11. Occupiers: Details of occupiers if the property is sold with existing tenants.

12. Services: Electricity, central heating, drainage, sewage details.

13. Connections to Utilities and Services: Details of utility providers.

14. Transaction Information: Miscellaneous questions including the removal of furnishing items and rubbish.

For more information on the TA6 Form read: Property Information Form TA6 Explained.

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What Else Do You Legally Have to Disclose When Selling a House?

Remember, you must make the buyer aware of any issues that would affect their decision to buy the home. As well as the points listed within the TA6 form, you must also disclose:

  • Reasons for previous sales falling through
  • Notices and issues found in previous surveys
  • Burglaries in the neighbourhood and other high levels of crime in the area
  • Any known neighbours served with a Civil Injunctions and Criminal Behaviour Order
  • If a violent death occurred on the property, including murders or suicides
  • Information regarding council tax
  • Any known structural issues
  • If any planning permissions are pending, approved or have been declined
  • Nearby developments, construction and infrastructure. This includes power plants, substations, sewer works, motorways or flight paths
  • Any pests or protected animals on the property (such as bats in the attic)

What Happens If You Lie or Knowingly Withhold Information

If you withhold information or lie about your property, you could face prosecution. The buyer may also be entitled to claim damages.

This is often the difference between what the buyer paid for the home and the amount they would have paid if they had known about the issue.

Even if you unintentionally mislead the buyer, you could be in breach of the Misrepresentation Act. In extreme cases, the sale can be voided completely and the seller must cover the buyer’s expenses.

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Selling a House with Issues

Be honest with prospective buyers about any issues in the home. Not only is this a legal requirement, but problems are also likely to be flagged in a buyer’s survey.

sIf you withhold information to secure a sale, issues found in a survey will likely deter the buyer anyway. Being honest and upfront will avoid unnecessary delays and disappointment for everyone involved.

When preparing your property for a sale, you will want to show it in its best light. However, you must not try to conceal anything that would impact the buyer’s decision.

If possible, make any repairs before you list your home for sale, especially if they are quick and low-cost. Cosmetic work can make a world of difference and fixing issues will put you in good stead for a successful sale.

That said, some repairs can be lengthy and expensive. The best way to deal with large issues in the home is to consult professionals and obtain quotes. This way you can provide information to buyers and present solutions to any problems.

You are obliged to tell the buyer if you have fixed a problem if the buyer asks. This is something that can be declared in the TA6 form mentioned above

If the issues are so severe that the home is “unmortgageable”, you could consider selling the home at auction.

If you are struggling to sell your property, you can find advice in our article: Why Isn’t My House Selling.

Adele MacGregor

Having written for PerformanceIN, WalesOnline, Grazia Magazine and The Olive Press, Adele now writes advice articles for home movers, first-time buyers and house sellers alike.

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