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Property watchdog comes to aid of family and dog

Wednesday 29 March 2017

Homebuyers who were mistakenly told their pet dog would be welcome in their future home have been awarded more than £1,000 in compensation by TPO.

The Property Ombudsman (TPO) stepped in after an agent falsely advised homebuyers that the developer would allow them to keep their dog at their new £550,000 apartment - prompting a £2,000 reservation fee.

During the initial viewing of the property, the potential buyers asked whether they were able to keep their dog. Shortly after, the agent emailed the buyers and confirmed they would be able to keep their pet under a licence, provided by the seller.

After making an offer on the property, the agent sent a further email confirming that the seller had agreed to keeping pets at the flat. However, two weeks later the buyers were told they needed to apply for a dog permit which would not be provided until after completion. This left the buyers with no certainty that their beloved pet could live with them.

The buyers withdrew from the transaction and only £1,500 of the reservation fee was refunded, leaving £500 outstanding.

The Ombudsman noted that the agent had a duty of care to ensure that the information provided to the buyer was accurate, and it was clear from email correspondence between the two that this was not the case. 

As the agent was aware of the importance of the dog licence to the buyers, the Ombudsman supported the complaint and determined that the full amount should be paid along with legal costs and an additional £540 for other financial losses associated with the property. A total of £1,040 was awarded in compensation.