Misleading Right Move Adverts – What can we do?

Misleading Right Move Adverts – What can we do?

9:26 AM, 29th October 2021, About 2 years ago 5

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We are in a situation, where a dubious agent is advertising greenbelt land for sale on RightMove.com with a clause that says ‘Suitable for residential, commercial or agricultural subject to the necessary consents’.

The local farmland was recently purchased, but the new owners are now subdividing into small plots which any new owners will have very little chance of getting planning permission for a home, business, or agricultural use as there is no water or mains utilities, and highway access is limited.

Currently, some sites have already encouraged illegal buildings, and which have been served with enforcement notices, but are now going to appeal with the planning inspectorate.

We will voice our concerns to the government inspectorate on every case (possibly 80 plots) and to any new planning applications, however, how can we stop other victims from falling for this property purchase scam?


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Neil Patterson

9:29 AM, 29th October 2021, About 2 years ago

Hi Peter,

Obviously report it to Rightmove and the Council, but I don't understand who would, and how, you buy land without legal advice, searches, planning etc etc.

Graham Bowcock

9:57 AM, 29th October 2021, About 2 years ago

Hi Neil

I have dealt with a few of these, often the buyers have been older people using cash; my involvement usually occurs when they die and try to leave them in their will (my advice generally being to disclaim).

The pricing is key as the buyers don't get a mortgage, so due diligence is not very strong. Sometimes they even use the vendor's solicitor "to cut down on costs".

I have seen parcels sold which have absolutely no access and no way of getting utilities. It's a total sham, to be honest. The only way they would work is if all the owners jointly acted to promote the site and work as one - but by the time they realise that the horse has bolted and isn't coming back.

I suspect that the agent feels they are legitimate by saying "subject to consent", which is technically correct. It is possible to get consent on green belt land, but not without a significant investment and many years of work. It's important that advisers fully understand the planning policy and look for the chink in the armour, but it's certainly not a job for the amateur.

We just need to keep banging the drum that these things don't work.


10:12 AM, 29th October 2021, About 2 years ago

I would pose as purchaser and get the lowdown.
Of course you can buy without planning consent and there are people that do their own conveyancing (who would presumably be aware of the potential issues).
Check your Local Plan and discuss with your Local Authority how likely it is that this land could be developed. Don't assume that because it's green belt it is protected.
Rightmove post for agents so they write what they're given, subject to consent is not really misleading as Neil says. If you oppose development then this not a productive way to go, as removing it would make them more likely to be in breach of ASA rules

As Graham said it could just be a scam, the other avenue is your local press

Freda Blogs

10:26 AM, 29th October 2021, About 2 years ago

These scams have been going on for years, I know of at least 2 sites near me which have been parcelled up and sold in this way. These include floodplain, land adjacent to the motorway, green belt: sites that would not be suitable for development - quite apart from the lack of access, utilities etc.

The simple fact is, if a site had genuine development potential, a legitimate developer would develop it rather than parcel it up and sell plots.

I suspect that many people who have bought into such plots have not thought through the practical implications of how they could ever realise any development or profit from them.

I don’t condone the scammers, who are preying on the gullible and the unwary, but the buyers walk into these schemes with their eyes closed.

Dennis Leverett

11:13 AM, 29th October 2021, About 2 years ago

Its not only scams, I live in a rural area and fields are being divided into plots with the travelling fraternity moving in with their caravans and gradually building brick "outbuildings", access roads etc. Its very expensive for local councils to remove them only to find a new lot there as soon as. I've lived here 12 years with an almost nil crime rate, there has been more crime in the last year than all the years I've been here put together. Rubbish dumped everywhere etc.!!!

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