Living in a neighbourhood plagued by ongoing disputes with neighbours can be an incredibly stressful experience. Recent research by Halifax suggested that more than one in ten Brits do not have a good relationship with their neighbours.
But what does this mean if you’re looking to sell your house? Can nuisance neighbours hinder your ability to move? Are you obligated to inform your buyer about ongoing disputes with your neighbours? And what are the consequences if you fail to disclose such issues?
Defining Neighbour Disputes
A neighbour dispute refers to any disagreement between neighbours that causes stress or friction. When selling a property, you must provide information on any existing disputes and potential issues that may arise in the future.
Examples of Common Neighbour Disputes
Neighbour disputes can arise from various issues, including:
- Noise disputes: Complaints about loud music, late-night parties, noisy pets, or rowdy children.
- Boundary and fence disputes: Disagreements regarding property boundaries or fence ownership.
- Party wall disputes: Conflicts arising when one neighbour wants to build up to the property boundary, but the other disagrees.
- Parking disputes: Disagreements over parking spaces, particularly when a resident claims an unofficial parking spot as their own.
- Disputes related to building work: Contentions that arise from construction or renovation projects, often causing tension and resentment.
- Garden disputes: Issues of privacy, such as the height of fences or being overlooked, and conflicts over smoking or other activities.
- Verbal abuse or intimidation: When a neighbour dispute escalates to the point of verbal abuse or intimidation, legal action may be necessary.
Do You Have to Declare Neighbour Disputes When Selling Property?
The short answer is yes. Declaring neighbour disputes is a legal requirement when selling a house. Failing to disclose such issues in the seller’s property information form can lead to your sale falling through and potential financial losses. It is a rare occurrence, but some sellers have also had legal action taken against them for not disclosing neighbour conflicts and issues during the sale process.
As with most things, honesty is the best policy, it is essential to be open and honest about any neighbour disputes when selling a house.
Can You Sell Your House with an Ongoing Neighbour Dispute?
You may still be able to sell your home while having an ongoing dispute with your neighbour. However, potential buyers may be hesitant to purchase a property involved in a dispute, potentially resulting in difficulties in finding buyers and a lower sale price.
The nature of the dispute will affect the relative ease of listing and marketing your property. Subjective issues, such as noise disturbances, may have less impact compared to disputes concerning property boundaries. It is often advisable to solve any disputes before putting your property on the market, particularly when boundary issues are involved, as they can complicate the legal aspects of the sale.
It is always a good idea to speak to an experienced estate agent and get their advice on how you can list your home to get the best possible sale.
Where do I Disclose Neighbour Disputes?
Neighbour disputes should be disclosed as part of the seller’s property information form, also known as a TA6 form. This form is designed to provide the buyer with comprehensive information about the property, including boundaries, previous building work, and any known disputes or complaints related to the property or neighbouring properties.
Resolving Neighbour Disputes
Resolving disputes with neighbours can be challenging, but it’s crucial to address the issues as soon as possible. Failure to do so can complicate the sale of your property. You can start by approaching your neighbour in a friendly and open manner to discuss the issue. Try to reach a compromise that satisfies both parties and prevents any ongoing animosity. If direct communication fails, you can consider other approaches:
- Contact your neighbour’s landlord if their property is rented, requesting assistance in resolving the conflict.
- Write a formal letter to your neighbour outlining the issue and requesting their cooperation in finding a mutually acceptable solution.
- Suggest mediation services to help facilitate a resolution if your neighbour is unwilling to participate in direct discussions.
- If the dispute qualifies as a statutory nuisance, involving issues against the law, contact your local council or Citizen’s Advice Bureau for guidance.
- In cases involving illegal behaviour, like violence or harassment, contact the police.
- If all else fails, as a last resort, legal action through the courts can be pursued. However, it is advised to explore all other options before taking this step due to the associated expenses.
Neighbour Dispute Mediation and Other Support
If you prefer to avoid legal action but still require additional support, consider exploring resources such as the RICS neighbour disputes service or neighbour dispute mediation through the Civil Mediation Council. These services can provide impartial guidance and assistance in finding a resolution.
Seeking Legal Advice for Neighbour Disputes
If you’re struggling to navigate a severe neighbour dispute, seeking legal advice may be the next step. Most solicitors will be able to guide you on your rights and offer recommendations for the best course of action.
Exploring Potential Neighbour Disputes in Your Future Home
If you are moving away from one nuisance neighbour, you’re going to want to make sure you don’t move next door to another one. Therefore, it’s crucial to gather information about any potential neighbour disputes before making an offer.
Unfortunately, it can be challenging to obtain details about neighbour disputes prior to making an offer. While you can inquire with the estate agent selling the property, their knowledge depends on the seller’s honesty. The official opportunity to discover neighbour disputes arises during the purchase process when you receive the seller’s property information form.