Thursday, December 2, 2010
Apropos Meredith's post yesterday about the family who unknowingly bought the meth house, Andrew Tettenborn (Swansea) writes to mention a case that tops that one. Which would you prefer -- meth fumes, or bits and pieces of a previous occupant?. . . .
"The story of the house that used to be used as a meth lab [writes Andrew] puts me in mind of a parallel in the Court of Appeal in England about six years ago. A seller sold a house in Yorkshire without disclosing to the buyer the fact that a few years previously a previous occupant had brought an adolescent girlfriend home, murdered her, dismembered the body and hidden the various bits around the house. Oh, and the seller also omitted to mention that the police had probably failed to find all the bits. The house was, not surprisingly, difficult to re-sell.
"Is Seller liable to Buyer? No. English contract law adheres to perhaps the strictest limitation in the world on the duty to disclose; and although the buyer had given a questionnaire to the seller, no question in it had been apt to refer to whether it was a charnel house rather than a family house."
The case is Sykes v Taylor-Rose  EWCA Civ 299;  2 P. & C.R. 30. The sellers answered "No" to the question asking for "Any other information which you think the buyer might have a right to know?"
The house (above left) is at 16 Stillwell Drive, Sandal, Wakefield, WF2 6RL. And it's apparently for sale.