An Undropped Kerb - Misleading Action

Published on Tuesday, 09 July 2013. Posted in Case Studies

Complaint

After purchasing the property Mr and Mrs F began to experience problems with other drivers parking in front of their property and blocking their access to the hard-standing in their front garden where they parked their car. After investigating the matter with the Highways Department, it became clear that unless the kerb was dropped, other drivers were entitled to park in such a manner which restricted access. Mr and Mrs F noted that the property particulars referred to the property as benefitting from off-street parking, yet the Highways Department had informed them that it was illegal to drive over a pavement where the kerb had not been dropped to access the space. They subsequently complained to the Agent, seeking the cost of dropping the kerb as compensation.

Freehold and Leasehold - Misleading Omission

Published on Tuesday, 09 July 2013. Posted in Case Studies

Complaint

Having purchased the property which was sold as a three bedroom detached house, the buyers, Mr and Mrs E, complained that the Agent had not informed them, either during viewings or via the particulars, that the property actually consisted of two parts; a freehold title on the former ground floor shop and a leasehold title for the former first floor flat. Mr and Mrs E also claimed that the rear garden was not included in the sale, despite it being detailed within the sales particulars.

Freehold, Leasehold or Commonhold? - Misleading Omission

Published on Tuesday, 09 July 2013. Posted in Case Studies

Complaint

Following Miss D’s offer being accepted and the memorandum of sale issued, her solicitor informed her that the tenure of the property was not freehold and was in fact a shared ownership leasehold property. Miss D subsequently withdrew from the transaction and alleged that the Agent had misdescribed the property as being freehold.

Loft not included - Misleading Action

Published on Tuesday, 09 July 2013. Posted in Case Studies

Complaint

In this case Mr C was attempting to purchase a flat with the intention of converting the loft space and letting it to a lodger to help him pay the mortgage. He was initially informed by the Agent that the loft space belonged to the flat. However, on checking the lease, his solicitor found that this was not the case and the sale fell through, by which time Mr C said that he had incurred costs in the region of £700 and sought compensation from the Agent.

Planning Permission 1 - Misleading Omission

Published on Tuesday, 09 July 2013. Posted in Case Studies

Complaint

After viewing the property and making an acceptable offer, the potential buyer, Mr A, found out through his solicitor that there were planning permission and title issues. Mr A subsequently complained to the Agent that this information had not been divulged or included in the sales particulars. The Agent argued that reference had been made to the planning issue and commented that it was not their role to investigate the title of the property.

A Festive Failing

Published on Tuesday, 26 February 2013. Posted in Case Studies

Complaint

Mr and Mrs I (the prospective buyers and complainants) were due to exchange contracts on the property two days before Christmas but, on the day of the exchange, it was discovered that the sellers’ proposed onward purchase had suffered flood damage and was the subject of an insurance claim. Although Mr and Mrs I’s money was in place with their solicitor in readiness for exchange, given that the sellers were elderly, Mr and Mrs I did not wish for them to have to move into a water damaged property in the middle of winter. They agreed to postpone the exchange and completion until after Christmas. However, three weeks after the holidays the Agent contacted Mr and Mrs I to inform them that the sellers had accepted another offer and would not be proceeding with them. Mr and Mrs I immediately complained that the Agent had failed to keep them updated.

A Clear Description

Published on Tuesday, 26 February 2013. Posted in Case Studies

Complaint

Mr and Mrs F, the buyers, complained that throughout the sales particulars the Agent had misdescribed the property as benefitting from double-glazing, when in fact, it did not. Mr and Mrs F stated that they had relied on this incorrect information when purchasing the property and considered that the Property Misdescriptions Act had been breached, directly resulting in them facing an estimated bill of £6,000 to install double-glazing after discovering the error after moving in.

Learning Points from the CPRs Cases

Published on Tuesday, 26 February 2013. Posted in Case Studies

Learning

The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs) require agents to take a different approach to disclosure of information about properties they are marketing from what is considered acceptable practice under the Property Misdescriptions Act 1991.

 

CPRs Case 5 - Title Issue

Published on Tuesday, 26 February 2013. Posted in Case Studies

Complaint

Following the successful completion of the transaction, Miss E, the buyer, complained that the Agent did not disclose their financial interest in the property which had led to delays resulting in additional solicitor fees. The Agent denied that they held a financial interest in the property.

CPRs Case 4 - Parking Space Included?

Published on Tuesday, 26 February 2013. Posted in Case Studies

Complaint

This was a complaint concerning non-disclosure of information where the potential buyer, Mr D, alleged that the Agent knew that there was a dispute over the ownership of the parking space at the property but said nothing, resulting in a long drawn out transaction from which Mr D eventually withdrew.

CPRs Case 3 - Shared Ownership

Published on Tuesday, 26 February 2013. Posted in Case Studies

Complaint

Upon discovering that the property had shared ownership, the potential buyer, Mr C, withdrew from the transaction and raised a complaint against the Agent alleging that the property had not been described correctly.

CPR's Case 2 - Damp Descriptions

Published on Tuesday, 26 February 2013. Posted in Case Studies

Complaint

Following completion Mr and Mrs B raised a complaint that the Agent had not divulged that the property suffered from severe damp and a leaking boiler despite this information being previously known as a result of a survey carried out by previous potential buyers and from conversations the Agent had held with the neighbour occupying the adjoining property which was also being affected by the problem. Mr and Mrs B also asserted that staff at the Agent’s office had encouraged them to commission a standard home buyer survey which, in the event, did not highlight the damp or boiler issues.

CPR's Case 1 - Non-Traditional Construction

Published on Tuesday, 26 February 2013. Posted in Case Studies

Complaint

Mr and Mrs A were potential buyers who had to withdraw their offer when their building society (which had already agreed a mortgage in principle) refused to lend on the property because the survey revealed it to be of a non-traditional ‘rendered’ concrete construction. Mr and Mrs A argued that the Agent should have informed them of this information at an early stage to have enabled them to have checked with their building society before incurring the expense of a survey. The Agent’s response was that the situation had occurred because Mr and Mrs A were limited, due to their age, to using a specialist lender. The Agent also pointed out that they had sold similar houses on the same development (including, subsequently, the property in question) and the construction of the properties had not been an issue.

More Reckless Referencing

Published on Tuesday, 26 February 2013. Posted in Case Studies

Complaint

In this case the Agent arranged a tenancy for two years in favour of four tenants who had offered to pay £200 per month more than the previous tenants. The landlords, Mr and Mrs J, were understandably happy that the Agent had found tenants willing to pay a higher level of rent. However, nine months into the tenancy Mr and Mrs J were contacted by the police to advise that they intended to raid the property as the heat signatures detected from the building indicated that it may be being used for drug cultivation. Furthermore, the police advised Mr and Mrs J that the persons living in the property were not those as recorded in the tenancy agreement and that references may have been forged. Following the raid, which found that the property was being used as a cannabis farm, Mr and Mrs J complained to the Agent stating that they should have been more diligent in their referencing. The Agent responded by arguing that, as per a previously arranged tenancy, they had not used a referencing service provider, adding that the documents provided by the tenants contained no information which should have put them ‘on notice’ that something may have been wrong.

Guaranteed Rent

Published on Tuesday, 26 February 2013. Posted in Case Studies

Complaint

Following the end of the tenancy and the tenancy deposit scheme awarding the full amount of the deposit to Mrs I (the landlord) in respect of damage caused to the property, she raised 21 different complaints concerning the Agent’s conduct which she asserted had contributed to the problems arising. Mrs I’s central claims were that the tenant found by the Agent was unsuitable for the property, that they failed to undertake proper references and that they did not carry out inspections during the tenancy which would have alerted her to the problems sooner. The Agent’s response was that they had obtained acceptable references, that they were not responsible for the tenant’s behaviour and that they were, therefore, not liable for the balance of the costs not settled by the security deposit.

Incorrect Notices

Published on Tuesday, 26 February 2013. Posted in Case Studies

Complaint

The landlord, Mrs H, entered into a guaranteed rent arrangement with the Agent. However, following a series of rental payments being missed, Mrs H instructed the Agent to regain possession of the property. After a number of months, Mrs H became concerned about the time being taken and, following a number of her letters not being responded to, raised a complaint.

Holding Deposit and Pre-Tenancy Conditions

Published on Tuesday, 26 February 2013. Posted in Case Studies

Complaint

The prospective tenant, Miss F, paid a holding deposit and administration fees to the Agent on the condition that the landlord agreed a break clause which met her employer’s approval. Miss F asserted that an agreement had been reached that if this requirement proved impossible she would get her money back. Unfortunately, following a suitable break clause not being agreed, Miss F withdrew and the Agent stated that they would only refund half of the monies.

Damage Deposit and Rent Arrears

Published on Tuesday, 26 February 2013. Posted in Case Studies

Complaint

The Agent had arranged a two year tenancy between the tenant and the landlord, Mr G. By the ninth month the tenant had accrued £6,900 rent arrears and had caused approximately £2,000 worth of damage to the property. Mr G commenced possession proceedings and a Court hearing took place at the tenth month where the judge awarded possession to Mr G together with an order for the rent arrears owed by the tenant. The matter of damages to the property was not considered by the Court. However, unbeknown to Mr G, a few days before the Court hearing, the Agent agreed with the tenant that due to the severe rental arrears the deposit of £1,592.28 would be released in full to cover some of that debt. After being informed of this development, the judge deducted £1,592.28 from the money judgement order for rent arrears awarded to Mr G. Mr G then complained that the Agent’s actions had denied him the opportunity of seeking payment towards the damages via the
tenancy deposit arbitration process and instead, was left with no option but to commence further legal action to recover these monies.

Where is the Holding Deposit Agreement?

Published on Tuesday, 26 February 2013. Posted in Case Studies

Complaint

After the Agent found a potential tenant who wished to move into the property immediately, Mrs E, the landlord, paid the existing tenant £500 to end the tenancy early. She did so on the assumption that the £500 holding deposit received by the Agent from the prospective tenant would mitigate her loss should the new tenancy not proceed. However, following the prospective tenant withdrawing due to personal reasons, the Agent kept the £500 holding deposit.

Reckless Referencing

Published on Tuesday, 26 February 2013. Posted in Case Studies

Complaint

Mr and Mrs D were the landlords who had instructed the Agent on a tenant find only basis. Following the Agent undertaking this task and installing the tenants in the property, rental payments stopped and Mr and Mrs D found themselves in the position of having to take legal action to regain possession of the property. Mr and Mrs D referred the dispute to my Office following the conclusion of legal action which had removed the tenants from the property but had left them with a substantial shortfall in rent.