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Joanne M
Joanne M, Solicitor
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 264
Experience:  LLB (Hons), LPC
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Hi, a 1960s build 4 bed property was last sold 2005 and recorded

Resolved Question:

Hi, a 1960's build 4 bed property was last sold 2005 and recorded with Land Regisrty as a semi-detached. No structural changes have been undertaken to the property, nor change of purpose for any room since (same for either side neighbour). It is now being marketed as a detached property.

My questions are:

1) Is this permitted? If not it would seem a possible breach under the Property Mis-discriptions Act. If it is, how do we reconcile advertising to registration?

2) What bearing does the last recorded sale have on a property's current classification? (Given no changes) This has a possible influence on insurance and planning (specifically permitted development).

Tks C
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: UK Property Law
Expert:  Joanne M replied 2 years ago.

Is this a property you are looking to purchase or sell?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hello Joanne,


It is a property I am considering buying. I'm not sure how that affects the principle of the question.



Expert:  Joanne M replied 2 years ago.
It is always useful to know what the person is interest is who asked the question.
Is the property indeed a semi detached?
How is it referred to in the deeds because it is unusual to describe the type of property is being detached or semi detached although it is not unknown.
Have you taken this up with the seller or the selling agent?
Please bear with me today because I will be online spasmodically so I might not get back to you immediately
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I have not accessed the deeds. The info re the sale is via the Land Registry website which records sales (price, type, date) by street. Seller appears aware and considers it odd, nothing more, have not mentioned to agent yet. I am seeking legal opinion prior to any discussion.

Expert:  Joanne M replied 2 years ago.
I still don’t know whether the property is actually detached or not.
If it is detached, then it cannot be misrepresentation.
If it is not detached then it could be misrepresentation.
It is necessary to physically look at the property.
It is not unknown for the land registry description to be incorrect.
You can easily get a copy of the land registry title deeds here for the payment of just 3 pounds. They are available online within seconds.!ut/p/b1/04_SjzS0tDQwMTIxMjLXj9CPykssy0xPLMnMz0vMAfGjzOKNjSxMDA1NjDwsjM3MDTxN3dyNDUNMjQ1MjPWDU_P0c6McFQH3SLFU/
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Physically the property lies in a grey zone. The houses are attached by utility rooms which Land Registry may or may not classify as non-habitable spaces. Adjoining habitable spaces makes a semi. But my main question is if Land Registry files the previous sale as a semi, can the property subsequently be marketed as a detached. Is it the agents responsibility to match the description with Land Registry?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Relist: Incomplete answer.
Expert:  Joanne M replied 2 years ago.
as this is in as you call it a “grey zone” then there can be no mis description under the misdescriptions act.
These properties have been traditionally marketed as “linked”.
I am not certain where you are wanting to go with this. What are you looking to achieve?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I am attempting to achieve accurate description and pricing. Should the agent be aware of any discrepancy or is it irrelevant? If I bring to the attention of the agent that the property was last sold as a semi, should it be marketed as a semi, alternatively is it up to them to show (by challenging and "correcting" the LR classification) incorrect classification. What happens when you pick up a red delicious apple and are charged for a golden delicious apple.

Expert:  Joanne M replied 2 years ago.
If you steal a red delicious apple and you are charged with the theft of a golden delicious apple, you will still get prosecuted under the “slip rule” because the description does not make any material difference to the theft.
Because the property is physically available for you to see and you have seen it and you know the format of it it comes down to semantics as to whether it is detached or semi detached.
It also comes down to honest belief and if the person placing the advert thinks that this is what they would class as a detached property, but the land registry criteria is somewhat different, but I really can’t see that there is anything whatsoever that anyone can complain about.
There is no intention to deceive you by saying that the rooms are 12 ft.² when in actual fact there are 11 ft.² there is no intention to say that the property was rewired in the last 12 months when in actual fact it was done 10 years ago.
If it said that the kitchen was painted green but the kitchen was painted orange, it would be obvious to even a casual observer that this was a glaring omission rather than a misrepresentation.
They can also rely on mistake and they can rely on mistaken belief.
If you are looking at buying the property to be frank, it is immaterial how they describe it because you have inspected it. If you are not happy with the description, having inspected it you are free not to buy it. If you are not happy with the price, you are free not to pay that price. When you come to ensure it you simply tell the insurance company that it is described as detached but it is linked by one of the rooms.
I still haven’t got a clue where you want to go with this. All you need to do is take it up with the agent. I cannot see that the land registry classification makes one jot of difference.
I’m sorry if this isn’t the answer you wanted but I really cannot see what you are driving at. This is not a legal question to my mind so I don’t know what answer you are looking for.
by all means make the point and ask them to change it and if they won't change it, and walk away from it.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thankyou. One path appears to be to buy the property in the belief it is as described, namely a detached. If LR classifies as detached all well and good. If as a semi, then LR is challenged to correct mistake, if not a mistake I would have thought Agent has misrepresented, whether by intention or not.

In a friends property he bought an advertised 3 bed semi (3rd a loft conversion) to subsequently find the loft conversion (used as a bedroom) did not meet classification as a bedroom and the property was really a 2 bed +. Had a lower market value. I believe agent was found in breach of Act. Buyer beware.

Expert:  Joanne M replied 2 years ago.
Exactly. Caveat emptor.
You will probably find that the agents details contain the disclaimer and indeed, when you come to buy the property many of the enquiries you make may say that you must rely on your own inspection.
The easy way round this is to ask the agent the question as to whether this is a semi-detached or detached for council tax purposes. They will probably tell you to ask the council or “rely on your own inspection”
if you have not done already, please do not forget to rate my answer positively so that I get some credit for my time here today. Good luck with a house purchase. Kind regards
Joanne M, Solicitor
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 264
Experience: LLB (Hons), LPC
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