Property Misdescriptions Act 1991

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Property Misdescriptions Act 1991

Postby Conveyancer » Mon Apr 30, 2007 8:27 pm

There is some misunderstanding about this Act. It makes it a criminal offence to make a false or misleading statement in the course of an estate agency or property development business.

The Act does not:

(a) Give rise to any right to compensation solely by reason of an offence being committed.

(b) Impose upon an agent a duty to pass on to a potential buyer any information given to him by a third party, even if that third party is in dispute with the seller.

(c) Set out what information must be given in sales particulars.

So:

If you are in dispute with your neighbour and a “For Sale” board goes up, by all means tell the selling agent about the dispute, but do not be surprised if he takes no action. His sole obligation is to answer truthfully any questions put to him, although he can decline to answer questions.

It is far more useful to give details of the dispute to the neighbour's solicitor. A solicitor cannot pass on information he knows is false or misleading. If the client insists, the solicitor must decline to act. Of course the seller can change solicitors. A solicitor is not under any obligation to, and indeed ought not, explain to the buyer's solicitor why his instructions have been withdrawn since this is privileged information.

Whether it serves any useful purpose to make the dispute known is going to depend on the nature of the dispute; you need to take legal advice and consider the matter carefully.

A word of warning: you may believe you have a good case, but it may have no basis in law. In certain circumstances if you delay a transaction or cause it to fall through you may be liable for damages if sued for slander of title.
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Postby living in harmony » Tue Apr 22, 2008 11:06 pm

are you allowed to display a sign on your front lawn telling anyone who views the next door property that would be up for sale that the owner of that property is in legal dispute with ones self.

eg can I for eg put a sign up that says :

LEGAL DISPUTE BETWEEN No ? & No ? AWAITING COURT DATE

if there is a paperwork trail from solicitor to solicitor and legal action pending then this would surely not be slander (or would it) I would see it as fact and only fair to reveal it to any potential viewer (if I were the viewer I'd be releaved to see such a sign so I could buy something else)

if as you say, estate agents would not willingly tell a viewer of legal proceedings even if they knew of them, surely displaying such a notice would be lawful for the purpose of warning any prospective buyer that the current owner is about to go to court and not in a position to sell until the legal matter is resolved between the 2 properties - I guess after judgement or settlement via mediation or whatever happens once legal proceedings are issued.
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Postby Conveyancer » Tue Apr 22, 2008 11:38 pm

Who is suing whom and over what?
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Postby living in harmony » Wed Apr 23, 2008 7:22 pm

my future parent in law is being sued by neighbour who used legal expenses to engage solicitor to get them to remove wrought iron trough/baskets attached mid height to the joint fence posts - on their side.

my future parent in law defended it by proving with photos that the neighbour had previously attached 6x6 trellis panels to their (their being the neighbour & who started the sueing) side of their fence.

during solicitor letters it was revealed that the neighbour did not ask permission to attach to the joint fence trellis panels, and becuase the neighbour did this my future parent in law simply decided to add trough baskets to the post on their side - then the bomb exploded.

now it has come to light that the neighbour is going through the process of selling and has told persepective buyer that they own the fence 100%as it was agreed in writing ie : my future parent in law surrended their part of the joint fence ownership to them - though that is not the case and the neighbour clearly will not be able to provide such paper work.

long and short of it is, if they sit back and let it all go through for the sake of getting rid of the nasty neighbour then the new neighbour will then be a case of future conflict when it comes to light they were lied to for the sake of selling the property. The new neighbour would have cause to then sue for being lied to but it is unlikely anything would really make up for the lies and the hassle that would then be between the new 2 innocent parties and I doubt anyone would benefit.

my parent in laws feel so strongly about this they want to make sure people know the circumstances before doing an exchange to simply get the matter addressed so the truth be told.

the neighbour clearly lies during viewings and is now hinting that if my future parent in law continues to address the matter (over the fence) if about when a viewer turns up, that harassment will be added to the case.

long and short is : its a joint fence, each has added their own stuff on their side, nobody asked the other if it was ok and as the other side had already added stuff they followed - not out of spite either - but to make their side pretty.

so, can they put a sign up on their front lawn stating legal proceedings/action is underway between No x & No x
so at least anyone turning up to view can knock their door to get their side and if necessary read the deeds etc etc re ownership and the current solicitors letters.

bit long winded - hope you get the jist.
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Postby Conveyancer » Fri Apr 25, 2008 12:02 pm

In all the circumstances it would be unwise for them to put up a sign. If they lose the court case and the neighbour loses a sale, they run the risk of being sued again for slander of title.

Apart from that, it sounds as if they should not be doing anything to prevent a sale and get rid of the neighbour.
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Postby obscured by clouds » Fri Apr 25, 2008 2:21 pm

Conveyancer wrote:In all the circumstances it would be unwise for them to put up a sign. If they lose the court case and the neighbour loses a sale, they run the risk of being sued again for slander of title.

Apart from that, it sounds as if they should not be doing anything to prevent a sale and get rid of the neighbour.


plus the fact that anything the vendor says will need to be backed up in writing [or should be] If the fence is shared then that's what will show up in the search [or should]. If he says otherwise without proof the he effectively shoots himself in the foot.

getting rid of an obnoxious neighbour is surely the prime consideration here.
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Postby living in harmony » Sat Apr 26, 2008 10:00 am

many thanks for the advice, will heed it and deter the idea of a sign
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Postby Klingon » Mon Aug 17, 2009 9:30 am

It's also the case that property disputes are just that - disputed relating to property, not individuals. If there is a matter needing legal attention and hasn't been resolved, it just gets passed on as a problem with the sale of the property. You don't have a right to attack your neighbour as an individual because there is something claimed to be wrong with the property(ies). Many postings on here relating to such matters seem to be a desperate attempt to prevent the seller selling. That is surely a result of unreasonable personal antagonisms.
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Postby deeplyblue » Fri Sep 04, 2009 6:40 am

Isn't a dispute with the neighbours one of the things you're supposed to disclose during the sale? I'm sure we were asked to fill in a form that contained a query about that.

I suppose the other moral of this tale is, if you are buying always ask about disputes over boundaries, or unreasonable behaviour or disagreements about rights of way. If they fib, you probably have a claim for redress.

db
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Postby chica » Sat Jan 23, 2010 5:03 pm

What if? a conveyancing solicitor acts for a person on a "boundary dispute" then the same solicitor acts for them on the sale of their property but fails to disclose any information about the boundary dispute, but makes referal to there was a dispute regarding a broken fence, that will be repaired.

How would this be viewed?
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Postby deeplyblue » Sat Jan 23, 2010 7:20 pm

chica wrote:What if? a conveyancing solicitor acts for a person on a "boundary dispute" then the same solicitor acts for them on the sale of their property but fails to disclose any information about the boundary dispute, but makes referal to there was a dispute regarding a broken fence, that will be repaired.

How would this be viewed?

Depends on who's doing the viewing. As far as I understand it (and IANAL) the term "boundary dispute" is used for a dispute over the position of a boundary, not over its maintenance etc. Thus, I think, an argument about the height of a hedge is not counted as a "boundary dispute", but I could easily be wrong on this one.

However, a solicitor who is acting over a conveyancing, and is aware that there is a dispute over the position of a boundary, and passes on a document which says that there is no such dispute would be in a rather dodgy position. If they disclosed confidential client business, then they would clearly be acting in an unprofessional, unethical and probably illegal manner. However, if they passed on information knowing it to be inaccurate, then then their actions might also be unprofessional.

I would think that his/her best course of action would be to tell the client that the document was inaccurate (being polite!) and then, if the client refused to change the document, the solicitor should refuse to continue to act in this matter. This would be a general rule, which applies to all aspects of a solicitor's work. They are not, however, required to investigate the truth of a client's assertions, or even query it. It's just if the solicitor is actually acting on a matter when the denial of that matter becomes a trickier issue. I think!

db
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Postby Conveyancer » Sat Jan 23, 2010 11:14 pm

chica wrote:What if? a conveyancing solicitor acts for a person on a "boundary dispute" then the same solicitor acts for them on the sale of their property but fails to disclose any information about the boundary dispute, but makes referal to there was a dispute regarding a broken fence, that will be repaired.

How would this be viewed?


If the dispute is simply about responsibility for repairing the fence then there would seem to be no problem. If the dispute was about something else then it should be disclosed.
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Postby chica » Sun Jan 24, 2010 3:32 pm

There was a boundary dispute and documentation referring to a boundary dispute held by the conveyancing solicitor which neither the vendor or the solicitor disclosed. Just noted on the SPIF dispute over broken fence but neighbour has agreed to repair or replace it.

No indication at all to a previous, exsisting or any future problems that may arise where disclosed.

Bare in mind it was the same solicitor acting onbehalf of the vendor for the sale of property and the boundary dispute (the same person)

many thanks for replies.
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Postby deeplyblue » Mon Jan 25, 2010 4:02 am

chica wrote:There was a boundary dispute and documentation referring to a boundary dispute held by the conveyancing solicitor which neither the vendor or the solicitor disclosed. Just noted on the SPIF dispute over broken fence but neighbour has agreed to repair or replace it.

Just to clarify:

1] Was there a dispute over a broken fence which was resolved?

2] Was there a separate dispute about the position of a boundary?

3] Are you the person who bought the property?

4] Did you "inherit" a dispute over the position of the boundary - i.e. are you and a neighbour disagreeing over the same issue as was the cause of a previous unresolved dispute?

If the answer to any of these is "No", please would you set the record straight.

5] Have you spoken to the solicitor who handled the conveyancing from your end? If not, why not?

db
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Postby chica » Mon Jan 25, 2010 8:28 am

To clarify

1/2 the original dispute was over the boundary position

3 yes we bought the property

4 yes we inherited the boundary dispute

5 have spoken to our solicitor who dealt with the purchase

The vendor answered in the negative all the questions in part 1 of the SPIF, however wrote a sentence "there was a dispute over a broken fence but the nieghbor has agreed to put it up again when he has repaired his path"

The vendors solicitor answered part 2 of the SPIF in the positve { thus agreeing any information he held was consistant with the vendors reply to part ! "

We buy the house, 6 months in to find there is a continuing boundary dispute. Have dealt with that at a cost of thousands. In the process uncovered documentation regarding dispute from previos owner and the solicitor who both signed the SPIF. IE this dispute was still active whilst our purchase was going through and niether vendor or his solicitor disclosed this information.

Any help on this would be appreciated, and ref to law or rules would certainly help.

hope this helps

many thanks
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