What Do You Legally Have to Disclose When Selling a House in the UK?
Estimated reading time 7 minutes
Selling a property can be a minefield of paperwork, a mountain of stress and a cluster of confusion. So much is going on at once, you could be forgiven for occasionally forgetting a few things. Unfortunately, a few moments of forgetfulness could lead to the collapse of your sale.
With that in mind, we have created this guide covering everything you need to disclose should you be looking to sell your house fast.
Supplying the correct information will not only lead to the sale of your home, but it will also keep you on the right side of the law. There are many things that you must inform interested parties of. You may want to highlight the size of the bedrooms or the spacious garden, whilst staying quiet the noisy neighbours or crumbling walls, but this is not advisable. A lot of vital information must be shared if you want to get your house sold.
For years, the majority of due diligence was expected to be carried out by the buyer. The translation of caveat emptor is “buyer beware” and this term was used to inform the potential buyer that the seller does not have to disclose any defects, whether known or unknown. This would leave full responsibility to the buyer, giving the seller the opportunity to hide issues as much as possible. However, since 2013, things have changed. Selling a property was put under the Consumer Protection Against Unfair Trading Regulation, meaning that the seller must divulge absolutely anything that could affect the buyer’s decision. If anything was omitted and it was deemed significant, the seller could be prosecuted, whether the buyer asked about that issue or not.
What will need to be declared when selling your property?
When looking to sell your property you will need to complete a specific form. Known as a TA6, or property information form, these are issued as part of the conveyancing process. Completing it is required to help generate your sale, but it is not a legally binding piece of paperwork. If, for any reason, you missed out information, did not complete it properly or withheld anything that was required, the seller may pull out of the transaction as they may believe you have something to hide.
What is a TA6 form?
As referenced above the TA6 form will disclose a variety of information about your property. Over the past few years, they have been updated to include much more detail in order to protect the buyer.
The form covers14 different areas:
- Disputes & complaints
- Notices & proposals
- Alterations, planning & building control
- Guarantees & warranties
- Environmental matters
- Rights & informal arrangements
- Other charges
- Connection to utilities and services
- Transaction information
Declaring neighbour disputes
If you have had any form of dispute with a neighbour where local authorities have been involved, then it must be declared on the TA6. You will also need to reference if any ASBOs have been issued. If a resolution has been made, you should also declare this.
Ensuring potential new owners know about the boundaries within the property grounds is essential. Many disputes start over the encroachment of boundaries, so being fully transparent about them on your TA6 is vital. If any boundary features have been moved or you have received notice under the 1996 Party Wall Act in relation to shared boundaries, you must include this within your TA6.
Notices and proposals
If anything is due to take place that may affect the property, it must be included on the TA6. This would include things like developments or changes to nearby land or buildings. Local authority searches would help with this.
Alterations, planning and building control
If there have been any changes to the property, you will need to provide full visibility of any works that have been done, and ensure that all the correct documentation is present. Where planning permission has been granted or where certificates have been issued, you must inform potential buyers of them. If there is any work not yet completed but permission granted for, you will need to ensure that is also featured on your form. Especially important would be whether work to rectify subsidence has been carried out. You can find out more about how long do you have to declare subsidence via our guide.
Declaration of guarantee
If your property has any guarantee for work like damp-proofing, insulation or similar, it must be declared on the TA6. Likewise, if your home is a new build and under 10 years old, proof of the new home warranty will be required.
When completing the TA6, you must cover whether you have taken insurance out on the property. If you have not insured it, you must state your reason for this. This could be because a landlord insures the whole building, where properties may be flats for example. If there are any current claims, you’ll need to mention those too.
This section of the TA6 is quite wide ranging, and means that you will need to declare whether the property has ever been impacted by flooding. Include whether a flood risk report has been made, and also include a copy of it. In addition, your EPC is vital to potential buyers and cannot be omitted. Other environmental issues such as Japanese Knotweed must be included. Japanese Knotweed is a severe toxin to any garden and must be dealt with. If it hasn’t been, you need to let people know. If it has, you need to prove information relating to this.
Rights and informal access
Some properties share access points with other properties or with public access spaces. Within this part of the form, you will need to illustrate whether your property has these and whether there are rights over neighbouring property. This could be a shared driveway and whether chancel repair liability is in use.
When selling your house, you will also need to declare what the parking arrangements are. Do you have a garage, driveway or allocated parking? You might require a license or a permit to park, or perhaps your property resides in a controlled parking zone. Whatever the situation, it will need to go on the form.
Declaration of other charges
Within this section, you simply need to cover any charges that may fall outside of mortgages, utilities etc. If there are property management charges, these will need to be stated.
Most of the time, you will be declaring the property as vacant upon completion of sale. If there will be people residing there once sold (perhaps you have tenants), this will need to be declared when you sell your house.
The remaining three parts of the fourteen sections are much simpler to understand, simply showing who supplies utilities and the locations of their meters. In addition, any certification provided in relation to the electricity, heating or drainage must also be shown.
The final section focuses on things that could halt the sale but are not related to the property. For example, date requirements for completion.
False information on a TA6
When selling a house, you may be thinking that hiding some information may speed up a sale. However, once the survey is underway, these problems will be picked up. If a vendor has bought a house with problems not disclosed they could pull out, meaning you must start all over again trying to sell. If neither the survey picks it up, or you do not disclose it, there is a chance the buyer will. If so, you could find yourself sued under the Misrepresentation Act.