Following their purchase of the Property, Mr and Mrs F complained that the Agent had provided incorrect information in stating that there were five communal parking spaces available near the Property when this was not the case. Mr and Mrs F maintained that they were told these were in addition to the double garage.
The Agent acknowledged that they incorrectly informed Mr and Mrs F about five communal parking spaces and said that this occurred as a result of receiving the information from the Seller. I noted that communal parking was not an issue recorded as being discussed with the Seller at the market appraisal stage. Furthermore, I was provided with no information which indicated that the Agent had discussed communal parking with the Seller prior to the information being passed on to Mr and Mrs F. I pointed out that, if the Seller had provided this information, it was reasonable in those circumstances to expect the Agent to have questioned the Seller’s comments and satisfy themselves that the information was correct.Moreover, I expected those actions and responses to have been recorded.
I supported the complaint to the extent that I did not consider that the Agent had taken the appropriate steps to satisfy themselves that the information passed to Mr and Mrs F was correct. When assessing the level of the award I took into account that Mr and Mrs F’s legal representative would have considered the extent of the parking attached to the Property, especially as it was apparent that parking was a crucial factor to their purchase. I, therefore, made an award of £150 in relation to the distress, aggravation and inconvenience the Agent’s shortcoming had caused.
It is simply not acceptable to provide prospective buyers with information which will be material to their decision making process without the agent taking reasonable steps to satisfy themselves that the information is correct. In this case, the failure to verify the information concerning communal parking was a breach of Paragraph 5h of the Code of Practice and would likely be considered misleading under the CPRs.