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.
I was unable to establish that the Agent did in fact have a financial interest in the property but my investigation found that the Agent had been aware of another interest registered on the title of the property (by a separate company) when Miss E had made her offer. When her solicitor discovered the registered interest at a later date, exchange of contracts and completion were delayed and Miss E was charged extra for the work required by the
solicitor. Under the CPRs (misleading omissions) I would have expected the Agent to have informed Miss E of this information at the outset or, at least, at the point of offer. That said, I also pointed out that Miss E was free to renegotiate the price or to withdraw from the sale completely when the information became known, but chose to proceed with the purchase at the agreed price.
I supported the complaint as Miss E may have made a different transactional decision if the Agent had informed her of the registered interest sooner. I considered that she had been caused a degree of undue and avoidable aggravation, distress and inconvenience when she discovered the registered interest and the unanticipated solicitor’s fees she would incur as a result. In my view, the situation could have been avoided had the Agent informed her of the interest registered on the title at an earlier stage. I made an award of £250.
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