Take care when completing Property Information Forms

Tue 21 Feb 2023

Anyone who has sold or bought a residential property recently will be aware that there are some quite detailed information forms that are completed by the seller for the buyer's benefit.  We have been reminded recently how important it is to take care when completing these forms to make answers as accurate as possible.  We advise that if you have any doubt, do check with your solicitor or conveyancer before completing and signing the forms. 
The buyer of a home in London recently successfully sued the previous owner as he found Japanese Knotweed in the garden, but the seller had answered 'No' to the question on an information form asking if any was present in the garden - there are options to state Yes, No, or Not Known.  The Judge in the case found in favour of the buyer, giving the seller a hefty bill for damages and legal costs.
That is rather an extreme example, but it does illustrate the need to take care when answering all the various questions. 
We also advise sellers to start to get together all relevant paperwork they have in advance of agreeing a sale, so that they are ready to complete the forms as soon as received from their solicitor - this can definitely speed up a sale.  Items such as Planning Approvals, Building Regulations Approvals, Gas Safety Certificate, FENSA Certificates for any replacement windows and doors, etc.  Any old scouts and guides will certainly know the benefit of BEING PREPARED.