Thu. Feb 29th, 2024

    Must I tell buyers about my noisy, messy neighbours? Our consumer rights lawyer DEAN DUNHAM replies



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    My next-door neighbor is noisy, his yard is a mess, and his house could use some TLC. I am selling my house, is it illegal for me not to declare them as a problem?

    DL by email.

    Dean Dunham responds: First, let me dispel the common myth that it is the buyer’s responsibility to investigate all aspects of a property and uncover any potential problems.

    The “buyer beware” principle still applies in property sales, although its application is now limited due to the 2008 Consumer Protection Regulations against Unfair Trading law.

    This law removes the seller’s responsibility to disclose anything that may affect the buyer’s decision to proceed with the purchase of the property.

    Property sellers are now required to complete a property information form for sellers, known as “form TA6”.

    Property sellers must now complete a form to which they must respond honestly, even about disputes between neighbors.

    This raises questions about the property that must be answered honestly. Failure to do so could result in a claim for misrepresentation by the buyer, which will inevitably include a claim for compensation.

    The key question is what information is within the requirements of the regulations? Form TA6 specifically asks about disputes between neighbors, so if you have had or currently have a dispute between neighbors, you must disclose it. What constitutes a dispute is open to interpretation.

    But if you have made a complaint to the council or another authority about the behavior of your neighbours, or if you have contacted them directly, then you are obliged to declare it.

    If you are simply dissatisfied with something (in this case, the condition of your property) but have not taken steps to do anything about it, this will not constitute a “dispute”, so you will not have to disclose it on Form TA6.

    The condition of your neighbors’ yard and the overall condition of your neighbors’ property is a fairly subjective matter – others may not share your opinion on what a disaster is.

    So my opinion is that this is not necessarily something you should disclose to a buyer (unless there is a “dispute” at play about it) and is therefore something that visitors to your home can see by themselves.

    However, this is not an answer that fits all situations. Therefore, it is always best to exercise caution and ask your attorney or real estate agent if a specific matter like this should be disclosed.

    > Read our columnist Dean Dunham on how to fight for your consumer rights

    A product still needs repairs. Can I get a refund?

    I bought a laptop in November and had reason to return it in December. The retailer repaired it but now the problem has occurred again. The retailer says he will repair it again, do I have to accept that or can I request a refund?

    FW by email.

    Dean Dunham responds: Retailers like to make consumers believe that they have the right to continue repairing defective products.

    However, this is not the case as the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (Article 24(5)(a) to be precise) clearly says that if after a repair the same problem occurs again, the consumer has right to return the goods and demand a refund.

    Alternatively, you can request a price reduction to take into account problems with the products. This means you get some money back but you keep the products.

    You have told me that you do not wish to proceed with a second repair of your laptop and instead simply want a refund. In this situation, retailers can make a “use” deduction from the refund, to take into account the use of the products you have had before the refund.

    However, in your case, I would say this because you have barely used the laptop.

    Write to Dean Dunham, Money Mail, Scottish Daily Mail, 20 Waterloo Street, Glasgow G2 6DB or email The Daily Mail cannot accept any legal responsibility for the responses given.


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