18 Feb, 2020
The claim was for rescission of a £1M+ contract for the purchase of a house and paddock in Oxfordshire, on the ground that the sellers had made a fraudulent or material misrepresentation when answering “No” to questions about “proposals to develop land nearby” and “communications affecting the property or a property nearby”. There had in fact been planning permission given for a 61 room motel adjoining the paddock, to which the sellers had themselves objected. The judge held that the sellers had given those answers not believing them to be true.
The case attracted considerable media attention during the hearing in November (e.g Daily Mail online 15/11/19 : “Couple who wanted to buy £1m barn conversion sue the previous owners for £300,000 after they failed to tell them about plans for Soho House's neon-lit American-style Mollie's Motel and Diner 'next door' “)
The judge held that the Powells, who only learned of the motel development proposal shortly before completion was due, were entitled to pull out of the contract and recover their £100,000 deposit, together with interest and costs.