Real estate agent negligence. Withholding information

31st January 2015 by


In 2012 a case was heard that had an important impact on the future of claims for real estate negligence.

Undisclosed mineshaft

The prosecution was heard at Wrexham Magistrates Court and concerned the existence of a mineshaft underneath a property which the original complainant had previously made an offer on.

The real estate negligence claim was brought by Wrexham CBC Trading Standards under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 – the organisation having earlier been notified by the complainant that he had made an offer on a house only to discover that it was situated above a mineshaft.

The complainant’s contention was that the real estate agent had known of the existence of the mineshaft, having been informed by previous would-be buyers following their survey and searches, but had failed to disclose this crucial piece of information.

This contention turned out to be true. Indeed, the real estate agent had known of this fact for considerable time but had failed to inform the complainant so as not to dissuade him from a potential purchase.

Despite being in full possession of knowledge of the mineshaft’s existence, the agents did nothing with the information and allowed the complainant to proceed with searches and a survey, at considerable cost.

The decision has important implications to professional negligence lawyers. It means that estate agents have a duty to inform potential buyers of a property of any problems which might affect their willingness to buy.

“This is a welcome decision that supports the view that house buyers should be protected as consumers in just the same way as all other consumers. For almost everybody buying a house is the single biggest financial transaction they will ever make and it is vital that those who are in business selling homes act professionally by not only giving true and accurate information but also by not withholding relevant significant information,” commented Councillor David Griffiths, Lead Member for Health and Social Care.

Healys estate agent negligence claims

Healys has earned its reputation providing quality and trustworthy advice to clients across the country. Our real estate negligence solicitors in London and Brighton can be reached by call-back form, by emailing our partners are by calling direct on 020 7822 4106.