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Actionable Misrepresentation In Property Transaction


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I purchase a property under the 'Right to Buy' scheme in 2003. I received a 'Offer Notice' under Section 125 of the Housing Act 1985 from the council before completion which stated under the heading ‘Structural And Other Defects’ a list of defects know by the council to affect the property..It also stated in bold

 

"No structural survey has been made in connection with the following valuation, nor have the services been tested. Moreover, those parts of the property which are covered, unexposed or inaccessible, including the roof space, have not been inspected and the Council’s Valuer is, therefore unable to report that such parts of the property are free from insect infestation, rot, or any other defect, apart from those listed below. It is for the intending Purchaser of the above property to satisfy himself or herself as to the condition of the property. An intending purchaser is strongly advised to obtain a full survey of the property."

 

Bearing in mind that it states under S125(4a) Housing Act:

 

(4A) The notice shall contain a description of any structural defect known to the landlord affecting the dwelling-house or the building in which it is situated.

 

The defects listed were:-

 

Replace metal framed single glazed windows when necessary.

 

Replace lead riser (water pipe)

 

*Repoint minor cracking*

 

Investigate/treat woodworm

 

Last year it was brought to my attention by a surveyor that my property had previously suffered subsidence, he pointed out a 25mm vertical crack that ran from the roof line to the porch. It had been pointed with mortar and there were also 2x 2.5m helical bars that had been bedded into the mortar joints horizontally to hold the property together.

 

I told him that I never been aware of that crack and it was the first time it had ever been brought to my attention, I told him that I had purchased the property from the council. As he had surveyed properties for the council before he asked me if I had the 'Offer Notice'

 

After viewing the paperwork and looking around property he could not find any other cracks or any that needed repointing accept for the one he had identified to me. He told me that the crack that the council had referred to as 'minor' was in fact a substantial crack and he told me to notify my insurers immediately as it was evident that the property was still moving.

 

It is of the opinion of the surveyor and a structural engineer that the property was never repaired properly and will need underpinning to stabilise it. It's no surprise to me that my insurers are only willing to do minor remedial repairs as it is evident that the subsidence is historical and was present prior to me taking out my policy with them which really voids my policy.

 

I understand that I should have had a full structural survey at the time of purchase but I also understand that the council failed in their statutory duty to disclose all known defects known to them that affected the property at time of me receiving my 'Offer Notice'.

 

What I would like to know is, would this also be classed as an actionable misrepresentation under s.2(1) of the Misrepresentation Act 1967 as the information they documented on the ‘Offer Notice’ was wholly misleadingly and they should have known that if the crack of that magnitude needed repointing 'again' then the property was still showing signs of movement after the work ‘they’ had carried out (prior to me becoming a tenant in the property) and a defect of this nature would required remedial work in distant future.

 

I’m not actually too sure 'IF' there was in fact a contract between myself and the council but had the subsidence been disclosed to me at the time of sale, I would never have entered in to a contract with my mortgage company.

 

Any help or suggestions will be greatly appreciated at this point.

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