The buyer of a Tudor mansion can proceed with a claim for more than £300,000 for loss of fittings and damage to the property, the High Court ruled recently. An application to have the claim struck out was rejected by the court after being sought by the vendor of the property.
The claim came about because after the purchase was agreed, but before contracts were exchanged, a burglary took place, leading to substantial damage to the property and the theft of many valuable fittings, such as period fireplaces and doors. The contract for sale included a clause that the sale included ‘all fixtures and fittings therein’.
The buyer had carried out a detailed inspection of the property before exchanging contracts and, although he had been informed that a burglary had taken place, claimed that he was not made aware of the extent of the damage to the property and the losses. He alleged that he had been told by the vendor’s agents on the day of the exchange of contracts that there had been damage to a fireplace and he assumed that that was damage of which we was already aware. The agents claim that the buyer was made aware of the removal of some of the fireplaces and the possibility of further damage.
The court ruled that the buyer had an arguable claim of deceit on the basis of the non-disclosure of the extent of the damage by the vendor’s agents.
The case will now be heard on the basis of a claim that the exchange of contracts was procured by misrepresentation.