When you sell any house fast or via traditional channels, it is the seller’s responsibility to make sure the house is ready for sale by clearing out the property and making sure it is at the standard promised to the buyer upon agreement of purchase. However, it is also the legal responsibility of the seller to disclose key information with any potential buyers before exchanging contracts on the property.
There is a legally binding document called a TA6 (or Property Information Form) in which sellers need to inform the buyer of any hidden issues that may not have arisen in a standard house viewing or survey. If any information on this document is misleading or deliberately hides something, the buyer has the right to sue the seller.
What Information Must You Declare When Selling A Property?
There are certain pieces of information that sellers must legally declare when selling their property and which will have the impact to affect the sale. You may wish to disclose these at the point of property valuation to make sure you are as open as possible with whoever is assisting with the sale of the property. However, this is not essential, so long as it is disclosed at the relevant time.
Hidden Defects and Hazards
Any defects or hazards which may negatively impact the health and safety of the people moving into the property will need to be disclosed. This can include problems such as asbestos or high carbon monoxide levels. If your home is in an area where there is an increased risk of damage from natural disasters or any environmental contamination, you should disclose this to the buyer. Similarly, if you are in an area where there is an increased risk of hazardous or toxic waste, radon gas, lead-based paint or other toxic substance, you will need to share this with prospective buyers. Specific disclosures may vary from location to location, but anything that could be considered problematic for health and safety should always be shared.
Issues With Neighbours
There are many issues that could be associated with neighbours, be it noise pollution, a foul smell or former conflict. You will need to disclose if there have been any boundary disputes or noise arguments in the past. Additionally, if you know of any ASBOs (Antisocial Behaviour Order) issued by the police to any neighbours in the past, you will need to share this as it has the potential to disrupt the lives of the new buyers.
Death in The Property
It may not always be legally required to disclose information about a death in the home however a seller is required to disclose any deaths which directly relate to the condition of the property or due to local crime in the area. If the death occurred from natural causes, unrelated accidents or suicides, it may not be necessary to disclose the information. However, sometimes it is better to err on the side of caution and disclose everything upfront and operate with transparency when selling your home. It is possible that in the future buyers could find out information from neighbours and force them to wonder about any other information the seller may have hidden. Also, if prospective buyers are superstitious they may not wish to live in a property where someone has died.
Any Major Problems Highlighted in Past Surveys
If your property has any structural issues that have previously been flagged, for example subsidence or problems with the roof, you will need to disclose this to your prospective buyers. Structural issues are synonymous with a big price tag for maintenance costs so you will need to share the information with buyers as it may impact how much they are willing to spend on the property.
Proposals For Nearby Construction or Development
If you know of any proposals for construction or development in the building or in the local area, you will need to tell the prospective buyers as this will directly impact them. Construction and development will likely cause noise pollution or disruption so buyers will need to know about it in order to make a fully-formed decision about the property.
Pests or Problem Weeds
If the property you need to sell has any issues with pests or problem weeds (for example, rats, bats or Japanese Knotweed), you will need to let them know. These issues require financial investment and ongoing maintenance so will need to be budgeted for, whether you need to sell your property fast or not. Additionally, they have the potential to decrease the property value so it will not only impact asking price, but could impact future sales of the property which is something any potential buyers will need to know.
Alterations, Work and Planning Permission
You will need to share the details of any alterations or building work that has been carried out on the property. For this, you will also need to be prepared to show any relevant certificates, applications for development and planning permission details. It is the responsibility of the seller to share any applications for planning permission regardless of whether they are pending, approved or have been denied in the past.