Tell the truth...


Originally introduced in 1991, the Property Misdescriptions Act is described, in the official tongue of the government, as ‘an Act to prohibit the making of false or misleading statements about property matters in the course of estate agency business and property development business.’

Which basically means that if estate agents and property developers put a house on the market, which they want to do, they can’t make any misleading statements that might mislead a buyer. Going back to the spiel briefly the scary official wording says: ‘where a false or misleading statement about a prescribed matter is made in the course of an estate agency business or a property development business, otherwise than in providing conveyancing services, the person by whom the business is carried on shall be guilty of an offence under this section.’ Which, we can all agree, is fair enough.

However, that law was actually repealed at the end of 2013, but don’t worry, because buyers now have even more security. Consumers will now be protected by the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 act, which covers everything in the Property Misdescriptions Act of 1991, and much more. Agents, developers and anyone making a private sale must now include all information that may affect the value or future sale of a property, and that includes advertising.

So what does this mean for those who are selling their properties? Sadly, some more work, although it will be the responsibility of the agent to make sure they are in possession of all the facts and pertinent information surrounding a property.

If, for example, you have previously applied for planning permission and been denied, you need to report this both to the agent and prospective buyers. And the same goes for any activity in the area. Perhaps you are aware of a new build going up in the area that may affect things like parking, noise levels and other elements in the area.

Prospective buyers should be made aware if several sales have fallen through on a property and why this is. If there have been a series of burglaries in the area, or there is a nightmare neighbor nearby, all of this needs to flagged up. uses an interesting example that shows how careful you have to be. The governments Green Deal program lets you take a loan out on improvements that will improve the energy efficiency of your home. Great! But remember that if for some reason you don’t pay off the loan, it passes on to the new buyer. The website says, ‘sellers must tell buyers if the property has a Green Deal loan attached to it. When you sign up for home improvements, such as loft insulation, under the Green Deal, you repay the money through your electricity bill. If you move, the loan stays with the property and is taken over by the new owner.’ If you don’t make the new buyers aware of this, you’re breaking the law.