Buyer Beware rule upheld by Property Ombudsman

Posted: 16/6/2021

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The Property Ombudsman (TPO) has upheld the Buyer Beware adage when it comes to buying a home during a recent case where the buyer referred a complaint to them about an agent. The buyer withdrew from a sale when a survey revealed that the timber framed 16th Century home they were purchasing, had timber rot. She blamed the agent who she said had not made it clear that the property was timber framed and that there was rot in those timbers, seeking compensation for her survey and legal fees. Agents are required to disclose any relevant information about a property when marketing, that they either know or should know. But the agent had stated in their marketing that the property was timber framed, and the TPO said that this was clear even from the photographs of the protruding timber structure. As for timber rot, the TPO ruled that agents are not expert surveyors and unless reliably informed about such issues, cannot be expected to report on them. In fact, even chartered surveyors will be vague about these issues, and we often see survey reports that say "some evidence of timber decay was present and an expert report should be obtained". Ultimately the TPO thought the complaint was unreasonable and rejected it. 

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