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.
I found that the Agent’s file contained a copy of the survey commissioned by the previous potential buyers and that this identified several areas of the property that required urgent attention. Specifically it referred to high internal dampness within two areas of the property, both of which were close to the locations in the adjoining property that the neighbour had drawn the surveyor’s attention to during his inspection. The Agent had received a copy of the survey a month before Mr and Mrs B had viewed the property. The neighbour referred to in the survey report also provided a statement chronicling her conversations with the Agent, one of which was recorded in the Agent’s file, albeit with the detail of the conversation being omitted. Unfortunately, the file contained no records of conversations regarding the different types of surveys that Mr and Mrs B might have commissioned.
Whilst I was unable to establish whether agency staff had encouraged Mr and Mrs B to take out a basic home buyer survey, it was clear that the Agent failed to disclose important information in relation to the adverse findings of the previous survey held on their file. I considered this to constitute ‘material information’ which Mr and Mrs B needed to make an informed transactional decision under the CPRs. I was, therefore, not persuaded that the Agent had acted in accordance with Paragraph 5h of the TPO Code of Practice and pointed out that the Agent’s failure had prevented Mr and Mrs B from making an informed decision as to the type of survey they wished to commission and, thereafter, whether they wished to proceed with the purchase of the property at the agreed price. I supported the complaint and made an award of £500.
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