Question 

Claire is an experienced conveyancer and keen social media contributor.  She runs a conveyancing blog, where she gives tips and hints about the conveyancing process.  

Tom, contacts Claire on her blog and asks, “Hi Claire, I am interested in buying this property nearby.  It’s a bargain, right next door to a new development.  What do you think?”  

Claire replied, “Sounds great.  You should get some advice on the contract.”  

Tom then asked Claire “Will the contract include information about defects in the property?”

Claire replied, “An owner should disclose defects in the contract if they are aware of them, particularly if they want to avoid any future problems with the purchaser.”

Tom bought the property at auction that weekend. There is nothing in the contract about defects.  

Not long after settling the purchase, Tom discovers that the property has a significant sewage problem.  The plumber who inspects it says that the trees on the property have completely destroyed the pipes and recommends that all of the plumbing is replaced.    

Tom tries to sell the property but all the purchasers want a price reduction to compensate for the work that needs to be done.  

Advise Tom whether he has a cause of action in negligence against Claire. Would your advice be different if Claire had provided the advice in her office?