Why You Need To Disclose Your Property’s Condition  & History

Disclosing your property’s condition and history in the UK is both legally required and builds trust with buyers. 

You must be upfront about any issues to avoid lawsuits under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations (CPR). Failure to do so could result in prosecution, as withholding important details is considered a criminal offence.

Transparency puts buyers at ease and avoids delays during inspections. Honesty shows integrity and avoids potential problems down the line. 

In short, full disclosure ensures a smooth, fair, and successful sale for everyone.

Do I Have to Declare Subsidence When Selling?

Yes, you must declare subsidence when selling your home. 

Subsidence happens when the ground under your property moves, causing cracks in walls, wonky floors, and doors and windows that stick.

It can be caused by dry soil, leaky pipes, old mines, or nearby trees removing groundwater. Even if you’ve fixed past subsidence, you still need to tell potential buyers.

This information will come up during the buyer’s solicitor searches, surveys, or insurance checks.

Transparency here is crucial to avoid legal issues and to ensure the buyer is fully informed.

How Long Do You Have to Declare Subsidence?

There’s no time limit on declaring subsidence when selling in the UK.

Even if it happened years ago, you’re legally bound to tell your estate agent and potential buyers. 

This is because subsidence can affect the strength of the building and its ability to get insurance. Buyers deserve to know about any past problems that could impact their future home.

What If The Seller Didn’t Declare Subsidence?

If previous subsidence isn’t disclosed upfront, it will likely come to light during the sale process:

  • The buyer’s solicitor may uncover it during property searches
  • A surveyor could spot physical signs during the home inspection
  • It may be flagged when the buyer gets building insurance quotes

At this point, the seller looks dishonest and the deal could fall through. Buyers may also pursue legal action for misrepresentation or breach of contract.

If you discover this hidden history while selling your own property, be upfront with potential buyers. 

Show them any paperwork you have, like survey reports or repair bills. Honesty goes a long way in building trust and keeping the sale on track.

Other Things to Declare When Selling a Home

In addition to subsidence, what else must UK home sellers disclose? The Consumer Protection Against Unfair Trading Regulations requires declaring any relevant information – good or bad – that could impact a buyer’s decision.

This includes:

Any Structural Changes or Issues

  • Extensions, loft conversions, removals of walls etc.
  • History of subsidence, underpinning work, etc.
  • Issues with damp, rot, asbestos, etc.

Boundary or Neighbourhood Disputes

  • Arguments with neighbours over fences, trees, rights of way
  • Properties with a Neighbour From Hell or  Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBO)

Environmental Factors

  • Homes under flight paths or near noisy roads/railways
  • Areas with high crime rates
  • Presence of Japanese knotweed on the property

Previous Events

  • Violent or unnatural deaths occurring at the property
  • History of the home being used for illegal purposes

Your solicitor will ask you to fill out a TA6 Property Information Form. This form has 15 key questions designed to uncover anything that could significantly affect your property’s value or how appealing it is to buyers.

The latest TA6 version, updated in 2017, even has a specific question about Japanese knotweed, showing how important it is to disclose its presence.

How To Properly Declare Subsidence

When selling, be upfront about any subsidence from the very start. Notify your estate agent and complete the TA6 form with full details:

  • When the subsidence happened and why (if known)
  • How bad the damage was
  • What repairs were done (underpinning, etc.)
  • Provide documents like structural surveys, insurance claims, guarantees etc.

Sure, some buyers might be wary. But honesty builds trust and attracts serious buyers who appreciate a transparent seller.

Openness is key. Don’t risk legal trouble by hiding subsidence. The right buyer will understand that a properly fixed issue shouldn’t stop them from buying your house.

The Bottom Line

Selling a house can be stressful, and highlighting problems isn’t ideal. But in the UK, the law is clear: you must disclose any past subsidence or other major issues that could affect the sale.

There’s no time limit here – even if subsidence happened years ago, it needs to be declared. Hiding it breaks the rules and could land you in hot water for misrepresenting the property.

While some buyers might be discouraged by past subsidence, honesty is key. Be upfront about it and provide evidence of repairs. The right buyer will appreciate your transparency and feel confident moving forward.

So, don’t try to bury the truth about subsidence! Disclosing it properly might seem scary, but it’s the law and avoids future problems. By being honest and providing documentation, you give your sale the best chance of success.