We have been expecting this type of case for some time. A purchaser buying a property not knowing there were termites in the roof.
We have been advised that the facts are as follows:
The vendor went to enormous extremes to hide the termites. They made no disclosures to the purchaser.
The agent was the brother of the vendor and it would be expected that he knew of these termites.
A material fact is something that is significantly relevant to a person’s decision to enter a contract. Termites, those things that nibble the wood, are a material fact. Termites have been known to eat away a premises so that it ultimately collapsed.
The agent is now being sued by the purchaser for acting negligently by not disclosing the termites. Hence, the failure to not disclose will cause the agent considerable loss.
If an agent doesn’t know about the termites, he or she cannot be held liable. In this regard, you cannot be sued for something you don’t know. Moreover, you can’t disclose what you don’t know.
Nevertheless, if an agent knows or should’ve known that the wood nibblers were present, they are duty-bound to tell.
It is an often-asked question in our CPD training as to whether termites need to be disclosed. The answer is – absolutely!
This article was written by Bailey Compton, Principal Solicitor & Director at Leverage Group.
To get in touch with Bailey, please email firstname.lastname@example.org