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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Buyer says he'll sue agent over non-disclosure about neighbours

The Daily Mail and other papers are reporting that a buyer is suing an estate agent who allegedly failed to tell him that a traveller family was living on a plot next door. 

Hairdresser David Stanley, 55, bought a house for £280,000 from an un-named agency in rural Surrey back in February this year, apparently unaware that the neighbouring plot was known to accommodate 20 travellers.

The newspaper says Stanley was "immediately tormented with loud parties, foul language, aggressively revving motorbikes and toxic bonfires - at all hours.”

Now Stanley is reported to have lodged a formal complaint with the agency and with The Property Ombudsman.

“They weren’t there when I viewed the property. It was just a plot of land. They moved in a couple of weeks after me - but the agents knew the land was being given to travellers” Stanley is quoted as saying. 

“When I come to sell I will lose money because no one in their right mind would live next door to these people. The agents should have been up front about the problem, I’ve been had.”

The buyer has contacted the police and the local authority to complain about the travellers’ behaviour. 

You can see the Mail story here.

  • Rob Hailstone

    If the estate agents knew the land was being given to travellers, presumably so did the sellers also. In which case, surely that fact should have been revealed to the buyers and their conveyancer via the Property Information Form?

  • David Bennett

    A minefield, as to who's responsibility it is to reveal such information, assuming this information was in the public domain, at the relevant time. A very important fact that either conveyancer, seller or agent should have revealed. Would the buyer have proceeded, if told and if so, the value would have been so much lower.

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    Can see this story generating lots of comments.
    Good point by Rob.
    Also if the land was owned by a “regular” person, would it have been disclosed? Of course it wouldn’t. Imagine if the buyer of the house was a traveller and the agent disclosed the plot next door was owned by travellers. The agent would then be sued for discrimination against travellers!

  • David Bennett

    The whole point of disclosure is to give the buyer enough information, to make a considered offer. Would the buyer have proceed at all, if they had been aware of the adjoining traveller's site? Just as if a lovely, open field and view of rolling countryside, is about to be developed by Persimmon, with 500 houses. Perhaps why those acting for the seller, failed to mention it. The seller certainly would have known. Local Searches would have revealed the planning for the adjoining field, whether for houses or an official traveller's site. I suspect the buyer did know, but they are trying it on!

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    Sounds like your solicitor did not do proper searches, planning applications etc
    People just can't turn a site into a travellers site!
    You may well have a claim on your solicitors, also on the seller/previous owner.

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    Proving that a particular neighbour type or group 'would' make it difficult to sell a property could be a difficulty in itself. And/or - any reference by the Agent, or others, that such would be the case strays into the realms of prejudice and racism. [Indeed, ironically, it is arguably the case that if there were no prior records of complaints against these specific noisy people (bear in mind that, as travellers, the occupying individuals probably change regularly !), this new owner, by his own complaints to Police, has now created some information he is obliged to disclose to his future prospective buyers !] My guess (if you look at the original newspaper article) is that it is fake news anyway (why no images of the land, its occupiers, nor views from the offended owner's window, etc ?).

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    Daily Mail... to take that "news paper" seriously is very hard for some one with more than 40 IQ points

     
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