Problem property could describe any problem that a property or homeowner may face in terms of selling to a ready, willing and able buyer who would be expected to require a mortgage and survey or at the very least, a mortgage valuation.
However, it really encompasses any property, seller and buyer and can be summarised “as a property with an issue or problem that prevents its sale, reduces its value and or appeal in the market place.”
“Problem property” is a phrase used by police, councils and governments seeking to apply pressure to the owners and managers of buildings where social order issues, crime, vandalism, drug dealing, drug taking, squatting or theft takes place.
“Problem property” is also used to describe any land or building that has a negative issue associated with it, such as uncertain ownership, structural issues, vacant, derelict, etc.
Motivated sellers may find that selling to quick cash buyers is the best way to get rid of problem property fast, easily and with no risk. We buy problem properties with cash, quickly and without a hassle.
365 Property Buyer actively seek and buy any problem properties all over the UK no matter the problem we guarantee to make you an unconditional cash offer to purchase your problem property.
Selling a problem rental property or selling a house with a problem tenant
We are often asked to buy problem property where the problem is actually the tenant and not the property. Problem tenants can be a bigger issue for sellers than a physically defective house.
In the rental house industry, landlords have a duty of care to ensure tenants will not engage in criminal behaviour that affects the quality of life of neighbours. A failure of some landlords to screen tenants appropriately for their rental properties can lead to greater criminality and lower quality of life in some neighbourhoods. This can result in these properties being stigmatised under the banner of problem properties.
Controversial home sale
Buyers or tenants may shun stigmatised houses for reasons that are unrelated to its physical condition or features. These reasons can include death of an occupant, murder, suicide, serious illness such as AIDS or cancer or the belief that a house is haunted. The concept is controversial.
In some high profile murder cases, connected properties are sold by public auction – this is the worst way (in our opinion) to sell a highly blighted, problem property that will have been featured in the press. Everyone in a public auction can see who is bidding and who the eventual buyer is. This will be highly off-putting to many buyers, will reduce demand on auction day and the eventual sale price will be rock bottom. It’s far better to sell privately, off market, without the additional publicity or negative press – just remember to disclose any “material facts.”
Disclosing information related to a problem property or controversial house sale
It is argued that the seller has a duty to disclose any such history of the property that may count as a material fact, such as:
- Criminal stigma: If the property was used in the ongoing commission of a crime, most buyers and their lawyers would expect and require full disclosure of this sort of element. A house is stigmatised if it has been used as a brothel, drug den, fraud, money laundering, illegal immigrants and especially the growing of cannabis. In the case of drug dens, some drug addicts, buyers or drug dealers may inadvertently come to the address expecting to purchase illegal drugs.
- Debt stigma: This can be an issue if debt collectors are unaware that a debtor has moved out of a particular residence. They may continue their pursuit at the same location, resulting in harassment of innocent subsequent occupiers. This is particularly pronounced if the collection agency uses aggressive or illegal tactics.
- Death or physical harm occurred in the house: It is generally accepted that sellers and estate agents do not have to volunteer information about the death of previous occupants, but a direct question must be answered truthfully. Murder, suicide, sexual attack or domestic violence stigma are all potential occurrences that must be disclosed.
The principle of caveat emptor “let the buyer beware” is all too commonly relied on as a defence by sellers when a buyer discovers something following completion that they feel should have been disclosed as a material fact, which might have changed their intention or motivation to buy.
It was generally believed that the sale or purchase of a property is a transaction covered by “caveat emptor.” However, this is no longer the case. Since 2013 with the repeal of the Property Misdescriptions Act, the sale and advertising of property has come under the 2008 Consumer Protection Against Unfair Trading Regulations (CPRs).
In simple terms, the CPRs require a seller to inform their estate agent – and any potential buyer – of material information that may affect an average consumer’s transactional decision, not only to buy a property but even “an omission that may affect a potential buyer’s decision to view a property.” No longer can you choose what to tell your agent or buyer.
Before they market your house, a reputable agent should ask you to fill in a Property Information Questionnaire where you can put down any relevant information. This will include issues you may have with your boundaries or other disputes with neighbours; notices of any developments nearby; whether the correct approvals have been obtained for building works such as building regulations or the freeholders consent for alterations such as a loft conversion; any significant occurrences at the property, such as a murder or a suicide; and details of any major defects you are aware of.
Some may consider telling a white lie or being vague with their answers, but this can come back to bite you, even after you have moved out. For instance, you may say there are no problems with a neighbour when in reality there is an ongoing boundary dispute. This is likely to come up in the conveyance process, but if the lie doesn’t come to light until the new buyers have moved in, the buyers can still pursue you through the courts.
Ultimately, any misrepresentations may land you in the dock answering criminal proceedings with the potential of hefty fines and, in the worst case, imprisonment.
Estate Agents are duty bound to reveal any material information they know – or ought to know – about a house. For instance, if a previous sale has fallen through because of defects that came up on the survey, this must be disclosed.
The National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team have recently released updated guidance that all estate agents should be working to. Agents can’t make misleading statements or fail to mention something that may put off ‘an average consumer’ so if you live next door to a school (which for some buyers might be a bonus) or a power station, this must be mentioned, and any photos of the property can’t be taken in such a way as to conceal them.
Don’t be encouraged to keep potential problems quiet, as not only could you be breaking the law, nearly all the information that should be declared is almost certain to come up during the conveyance process. Hidden ‘faults or disputes’ which suddenly appear could lead a buyer to withdraw from the sale, costing both sides a lot of time and money.
A good, reputable agent will know how to deal with this sort of information and how to pass it on to a potential viewer or buyer at the outset in a sensitive and positive way.
We are able to purchase any problem property from you without all the necessary guidance, extra fees and risks of attempting to sell a problem home. Please get in touch to discuss your problem property and how we can help with a fast cash house sale.