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.
I found that the Agent had made a significant error when describing the property as being doubleglazed on no less than ten occasions in the sales particulars, irrespective of the input by the seller. I also took into account that Mr and Mrs F had a responsibility to ensure that the property was fit for their purposes during the process which included two viewings. I noted that a full survey would probably have highlighted the inaccuracies of the information provided by the Agent but that Mr and Mrs F decided not instruct a full survey, which they were entitled to do. Without other sources to ascertain the veracity of the information provided by the Agent, I was satisfied that Mr and Mrs F continued the transaction relying on the Agent’s assertions in the sales particulars that the property benefited from being double-glazed throughout, and I considered that it was reasonable for them to do so.
I was persuaded that the Agent had failed to take reasonable steps to ensure that the statements made about the glazing in the property were accurate and not misleading. I also recognised that Mr and Mrs F were faced with a significant bill to install double-glazing. Based on the circumstances in this case and the role of both parties, I was persuaded that the Agent should contribute 50 per cent towards the reasonable costs to carry out this work. However, rather than rely on Mr and Mrs F’s unverified assertion that the work would cost £6,000, I directed both parties to obtain and provide at least two separate estimates for the work required. After considering those estimates, I made an award of £2,300 in compensation, which was the average of 50 per cent of the four quotes provided.
Not only was the Agent’s assertions about the presence of double-glazing a breach of Paragraph 5h of the TPO Code of Practice and almost certainly the Property Misdescriptions Act, the incorrect information did not comply with the requirements of the CPRs, given that the misleading information was material to Mr and Mrs F when making their ‘transactional decision’ whether or not to purchase the property.