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Beware of land size misrepresentation 

9 January 2017

Industry owned insurer Realcover say agents need to use disclaimers to avoid getting into trouble for misleading advertising of land size.

Realcover, who offer professional indemnity insurance, have received a large number of claims recently in relation to misleading and deceptive conduct from incorrect advertising of land size of properties for sale.

A number of the recent cases have related to agents who have given out information about land size provided to them by third parties and online portals which has proven to be incorrect.

Realcover Claims and Compliance Manager, Nancy Rainbird, said: “Although the basic principal of property law is “buyer beware”, there is little doubt that an agent will be held responsible for any loss flowing from the misrepresentation as to the land size.

“Agents must always use caution when making reference to land sizes and dimensions and any other information regarding the property which may impact on the sale. Agents must also verify the accuracy of the information provided.”

Nancy added that the advice Realcover gives to agents to help avoid a claim is to use disclaimers that reflects clearly that the information was obtained from third party sources.

For example:

"We have obtained all information in this document from sources we believe to be reliable; however, we cannot guarantee its accuracy.  Prospective purchasers are advised to carry out their own investigations."

The disclaimers should be printed in the same font size and be included on all documents such as brochures, flyers, signboards and any online advertising of a property.

The vendor or their solicitor should also verify the details of the property in writing before the marketing campaign and obtain vendor sign off on all marketing material.

These simple measures will greatly reduce the risk of a claim against an agency.