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The court dismissed the action brought by the buyers. Photo / Provided
Warning: This article is about suicide and could be distressing for some people.
Two property buyers have lost an appeal against an estate agent and his manager that they were not informed of a suicide
at a place they bought.
The two complained that the officer only told them of a “sudden death” but did not tell them that the suicide of the seller’s husband had taken place there.
But in the case between Ex and Xn against Mu and DS, the Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal dismissed their appeal, saying it was implausible, the information was leaked in the agreement, and other people who examined the property were advised the death was a suicide.
“The buyers say that during their visit to the property with the licensee, she informed them of a sudden death. At no time did she mention suicide. The manager had told all his agents to warn potential buyers of sudden death.
“This unexpected death was believed to be due to natural causes and they had assumed it was a heart attack or stroke. The licensee and manager had deliberately lied to them,” said the court, summarizing the buyers’ appeal.
“They are disgusted by the decision. It constituted gross misconduct and was misleading. Had they known it was a suicide, they would not have purchased the property,” the court noted of the appellants’ case against the agent and the manager.
The dispute was narrow, the court decided.
The licensee and her manager claim that the agent disclosed the event to the buyers during their first visit by expressly using the word “suicide”.
As argued by counsel for the board and counsel for the licensee and manager, there was a considerable amount of independent evidence to support the agent’s disclosure.
The disclosure was specifically identified in the listing agreement.
Other potential buyers were shown the property by the agent or other agency agents who confirmed that the suicide had been disclosed.
Other agents confirmed that this was discussed between all agents and they all knew it needed to be disclosed.
Both the officer and her manager in their statements clearly and precisely set out the process followed. The manager was particularly diligent in her mentoring of new officers, the court heard.
The agent said she was clear with the buyers about what happened on the spot.
“While on the side of the road outside the property, [the licensee] explained to them that there had been a suicide at a particular location on the property. Subsequently, she used the expression sudden death out of respect for the sensitive subject. But only after unambiguously informing the buyers of the suicide, specifically using the word suicide,” the court said of the evidence from the agent and his manager.
“The purchasers bear the burden of proof in court. There is no evidence independent of their own accounts to support their claim. They have identified no error of fact or law by the [complaints assessment committee] apart from the result.
“They chose not to present full findings to the court. It seems implausible to us that the licensee disclosed the suicide, using that word, to other potential buyers, but not to the buyers,” he said. -he decides.
The court decided to publish its decision but deleted many aspects of the case.
No names or identifying details of the buyers, property, holder or manager have been revealed.
It was appropriate to order publication without those details, the court said.
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