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Alice H
Alice H, Solicitor/Partner
Category: Law
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Experience:  Partner in national law firm
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I bought a property at auction that was described as a 1 bed flat online. In the catalogue

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I bought a property at auction that was described as a 1 bed flat online. In the catalogue it was described as "a self contained flat with reception/living room/kitchen, bathroom". After winning the bid I realised it was a bedsit/studio with just a small bathroom. At no point was it ever described as a studio or bedsit, not online, not in the catalogue and not by the auctioneers. Do I have a claim for misrepresentation and to get my deposit back?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Alice H replied 2 years ago.
My name is ***** ***** I am happy to help with your question. Please clarify: the catalogue description that you've given does not mention a separate bedroom. Did that not raise alarm bells?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

The flat was advertised online as a 1 bed flat. So I assumed it was a 1 bed flat. The catalogue described it as reception room/bedroom/kitchen, shower/wc. I had no reason to believe it wasn't a 1 bed flat and if it was a studio then surely it should have been represented in words as a studio?

Expert:  Alice H replied 2 years ago.
I understand. In order to rescind the contract on the basis of misrepresentation or to claim damages, you would have to prove that a false statement was made leading to your entering the contract to purchase the property. The law if set out in the Misrepresenatation Act 1967. The misrepresentation can be made innocently so you do not have to prove that a fraud took place or that there was any dishonesty. Once you raise misrepresentation it is then down to the other party ( and the auctioneer) to prove that what they told you was true. So, if the online advert said one bedroom flat and you went ahead with your bid on that basis then you could allege misrepresentation and seek to end the contract and withdraw your deposit. I agree with you that the failure to describe the "flat" as a studio or bedsit is a big problem for the auctioneers - describing a property as a flat suggests there is a separate sleeping area. You need immediately to contact the seller and the auctioneer to explain the problem and seek a return of your deposit.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

The fact that it was originally described online (i kept a print out and cached Web copy as it's no longer online!) as a 1 bed flat and studio/bedsit is never mentioned online, in print or verbally, does this give me a strong enough legal case to rescind the deal? Can I be forceful and confident in my assertions, in case they don't back down? I mean, based on what I've said would you take it to court?

Expert:  Alice H replied 2 years ago.
Yes, in my opinion you do.
You said it was advertised online as a "1 bed flat" - that's clearly an incorrect statement.
You also said The catalogue described it as "reception room/bedroom/kitchen, shower/wc" - which seems to suggest the bedroom is a separate area.
There is also the lack of "studio" and "bedsit" from the description.
All in all it seems as if the seller/auctioneers have given completely the wrong information about the property which you then relied on to your detriment.
If I was your lawyer I would need to see all the documentation but on the descriptions that you've given it looks like you have a good case to rescind and/or sue for damages.
Alice H and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thanks Alice. Also many thanks for replying so late on Sunday evening! Regards, David

Expert:  Alice H replied 2 years ago.
My pleasure. All the best. Alice.