The Buyers claimed that the Agent had incorrectly advertised the property. They explained that during the conveyancing process they discovered that an area of land at the rear of the garden was not included in the title plan belonging to the property, and in fact belonged to the local council. The Buyers argued that the Agent should not have marketed the property without having checked this. They also pointed out that they incurred additional costs in registering all of the garden (as seen) as part of the property, arguing that they were treated unfairly by the Agent as a result of the Seller not agreeing to make an allowance for these costs as part of the transaction.
I was persuaded from the information provided that the Agent had some local knowledge that the Council owned land to the rear of the properties in the street and that there was an option for residents to rent a section of land in order to extend their gardens. However, it was clear that the neighbouring properties gardens were longer than the property’s garden. Furthermore, the documentation within the Agent's branch file provided no indication that the Seller had informed them that not all of the garden was included in the sale. I, therefore, did not consider it unreasonable for the Agent to have concluded that the garden in its entirety formed part of the property. Regarding the Buyers’ additional costs, I noted that communication took place between the legal representatives and the Seller who refused to make such an allowance. Whilst I acknowledged the Buyers' dissatisfaction at incurring costs which they had not anticipated, this was not something for which the Agent could be held accountable for.
I concluded that the Agent had acted in accordance with their obligations (under Paragraph 7i of the TPO Code of Practice and in accordance with the CPRs) in respect of their marketing of the property. I also pointed out that the issue of the title was a matter for the conveyancing process and the responsibility of the legal representatives instructed, explaining that the Agent had no access to these documents prior to marketing.
Paragraph 7i of the TPO Code of Practice reflects the requirements of the CPRs by requiring agents to divulge material information to buyers of which they are aware or should have been reasonably aware. In this case, despite the Agent being aware that the Council owned land in the vicinity, when compared with neighbouring properties, it was not apparent that the Seller was utilising this land. I would have taken a different view if all of the gardens were of a similar length.