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What You Have to Declare About Neighbours When Selling

By: Sarah Clark (ILEX) - Updated: 31 May 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Neighbour Problem Dispute Legal Spif

If you’ve decided to move home, whether to escape problem neighbours or not, you’ll have to own up to any issues you’ve had with the neighbours when you’re selling your home. The guidelines are slightly grey as to what you need to declare to a prospective buyer, but there have been cases where new owners have sued previous owners for not telling them about particularly awful neighbours, so it pays to be aware of the law.

Neighbourhood Disputes

If you’ve been unlucky enough to become involved in an actual dispute with Problem Neighbours, this will have to be mentioned on the form that your solicitor sends you – called a Seller’s Property Information Form (or SPIF). What constitutes a dispute is open to interpretation but in general, if you’ve had to contact a neighbour in writing, or complain to the council or another authority about them, then the dispute will have to be declared.

Obvious examples of things that need to be declared on the SPIF are Boundary Disputes (disputes involving land or fences/hedges) or anything that involves Shared House Maintenance.

Buyers could potentially take action against you for years after the sale of the property has been agreed, so don’t just assume that once you’ve moved out, the problem has gone away if you haven’t told them.

Not a Problem?

In some situations, it’s not necessary to mention an issue that’s come up with a neighbour. For example, if a neighbour had a penchant for having noisy parties but this is now in the past, or a problem has been dealt with amicably. Issues like children, noise and pets are also extremely subjective, so the Noise Of A Dog Barking may drive you insane but if the person buying the property also has dogs, it may be something they don’t even notice.

If you’re asked by a solicitor to give details of any disputes or problem neighbours, this is where the situation becomes more difficult, as any false information or ‘omitted information’ could lead to legal action being taken by buyers. So seek advice from your solicitor if you think that a neighbour’s behaviour could be considered problematic, and ask if they think it’s something you need to declare.

Taking Legal Action

The SPIF is legally part of the contract between you and your buyer. Because you are required by law to complete the SPIF, and because the buyer of your property is entitled to rely on the information being accurate when they buy a home, they may be able to claim against you if the sale has been completed and a problem neighbour dispute comes to life. If the contracts haven’t been exchanged when the dispute comes to light, they could pull out of the sale.

In one case in 2009, when Home Information Packs were still in force, one buyer was told by a seller that her potential new next door neighbour was 'as quiet as a mouse', and the HIPS declared that there had been no disputes with any of the neighbours.

Unfortunately, this neighbour made her life 'a living hell' with loud swearing and banging on the walls during the night. The buyer sued the seller and accused her of telling lies on the HIPS form, but lost, despite the seller admitting the neighbour in question had threatened to kill her and thrown stones at her windows in the past.

Resolve It?

If you think there's a chance you can resolve a dispute (especially when your neighbour knows you're planning to move!)...then read about how ways you can go about mediation.

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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
We have an overflowing gutter on the front of our house during heavy rain as there is only one down pipe on the front of our property which has to take the rain of our roof and our neighbours.He doesn’t have any downpipes on the front of his property.We are semi-detached. We have been asking him for at least three years to put a down pipe on his side, he always says he will but does not do anything. In our deeds it’s says both properties are responsible for maintenance of guttering and pipes.What should we do without falling out with them?
Chris - 31-May-18 @ 7:44 PM
Saj - Your Question:
Hello we've accepted an offer on our house do we need to tell new buyers that our neighbours complained about us to the council? They complained about my daughter stamping up and downstairs. (yes really) we spoke to the council and they reassured us this was everyday living and to carry on as normal. It did however cause tension/ angry words with said neighbours and now we just don't talk. Any advice appreciated.

Our Response:
Again as in other responses to other comments - you will need to check the wording on the Seller's Questionnaire and be honest in your response
ProblemNeighbours - 17-Apr-18 @ 3:03 PM
Sergei66 - Your Question:
We are putting our house up for sale. In 2014/15 we had an issue with our neighbour that led to me contacting the council about the excessive shouting and swearing by our neighbour. The council did not write to him as they took no action. Does this need to be declared?We did have Police involvement that led to mediation in 2015. Since then there have been no issues. Does this have to be declared?Many thanks.

Our Response:
Yes, probably. It really depends on the wording of the sellers questionnaire but it's likely the police and the council will have a record of the incidents.
ProblemNeighbours - 17-Apr-18 @ 11:48 AM
Hello we've accepted an offer on our house do we need to tell new buyers that our neighbours complained about us to the council? They complained about my daughter stamping up and downstairs. (yes really) we spoke to the council and they reassured us this was everyday living and to carry on as normal. It did however cause tension/ angry words with said neighbours and now we just don't talk. Any advice appreciated.
Saj - 17-Apr-18 @ 8:38 AM
We are putting our house up for sale.In 2014/15 we had an issue with our neighbour that led to me contacting the council about the excessive shouting and swearing by our neighbour.The council did not write to him as they took no action.Does this need to be declared? We did have Police involvement that led to mediation in 2015.Since then there have been no issues.Does this have to be declared? Many thanks.
Sergei66 - 16-Apr-18 @ 12:43 PM
CharLaver - Your Question:
My neighbour is an old lady who 5 years after we bought our housestarted shouting through the walls that she thinks my husband has cut off her gas and electricity and is taking money from her bank. It could be early hours and wake us and children. I was concerned and found contact information for her son who asked her to seek help but she won’t. So I spoke to adult social services who stopped by but they wouldn’t help her either. Since she has become irate that we have ‘taken her son away from her’ and she turning everyone against her. She is fine with the other neighbors although she has in the passed damaged their property when she was angry with them. We have found the situation liveable and have lived for 3 years like this but now need a bigger house and I’m wondering what we do/don’t need to declare on the TA6 given it seems to be personal issue and there is no formal dispute with her. Other than me stalling social services to get her some help. Any advice appreciated

Our Response:
This will depend on how the questions in the seller's form are phrased. Here are some examples:
Is the seller aware of anything which might lead to a disupte about the property or a property nearby? If yes please give details
Have any notices or correspondence been received or sent (e.g from or to a neighbour, council or government department), or any negotiations or discussions taken place which affect the property or a property nearby. If yes, please give details
ProblemNeighbours - 9-Apr-18 @ 12:05 PM
Dean - Your Question:
Hello, who do I have to say about the theft of electricity? My neighbor is bragging that he does not pay anything and that he has some wires in the electric panel.

Our Response:
Report this to your electricty provider.
ProblemNeighbours - 9-Apr-18 @ 10:46 AM
My neighbour is an old lady who 5 years after we bought our housestarted shouting through the walls that she thinks my husband has cut off her gas and electricity and is taking money from her bank. It could be early hours and wake us and children. I was concerned and found contact information for her son who asked her to seek help but she won’t. So I spoke to adult social services who stopped by but they wouldn’t help her either. Since she has become irate that we have ‘taken her son away from her’ and she turning everyone against her. She is fine with the other neighbors although she has in the passed damaged their property when she was angry with them. We have found the situation liveable and have lived for 3 years like this but now need a bigger house and I’m wondering what we do/don’t need to declare on the TA6 given it seems to be personal issue and there is no formal dispute with her. Other than me stalling social services to get her some help. Any advice appreciated
CharLaver - 7-Apr-18 @ 9:26 AM
Hello, who do I have to say about the theft of electricity? My neighbor is bragging that he does not pay anything and that he has some wires in the electric panel.
Dean - 6-Apr-18 @ 4:24 PM
tizzwazz - Your Question:
Hi. I am currently in a dispute with my downstairs neighbour. We both own our flats. We had a plumbing issue which resulted in water leaking into her flat, this has since been resolved and it transpired to be the plumbers fault. Unfortunately, my neighbour became incredibly abusive and threatening towards myself, my husband and our 1 year old. This resulted in my reporting her to the police due to the aggression and abuse, along with the threats. We have also had the management company involved to mediate, but this has been semi informal via phone calls with the lease manager and no formal mediation process has happened. We are looking to move anyway due to our baby needing more room, but this has spurred us on to look to move asap. Our neighbour has also said in the past she is looking to move, but to rent her flat out. Would we need to declare this when we move? If it is resolved amicably would we declare? If she moves before we do would we need to?

Our Response:
If you have had cause to report this to an authority such as the council or the police, then it's very likely that you will have to declare it on any sellers information questionnaire. There is often additional space to explain more about the situation and whether it has been resolved.
ProblemNeighbours - 3-Apr-18 @ 3:17 PM
Hi. I am currently in a dispute with my downstairsneighbour. We both own our flats. We had a plumbing issue which resulted in water leaking into her flat, this has since been resolved and it transpired to be the plumbers fault.Unfortunately, my neighbour became incredibly abusive and threatening towards myself, my husband and our 1 year old. This resulted in my reporting her to the police due to the aggression and abuse, along with the threats. We have also had the management company involved to mediate, but this has been semi informal via phone calls with the lease manager and no formal mediation process has happened. We are looking to move anyway due to our baby needing more room, but this has spurred us on to look to move asap. Our neighbour has also said in the past she is looking to move, but to rent her flat out. Would we need to declare this when we move? If it is resolved amicably would we declare? If she moves before we do would we need to?
tizzwazz - 30-Mar-18 @ 8:31 PM
Jim bob - Your Question:
Hi there,My partner and I are selling our flat - we've found a buyer but are now looking at addressing the issue of whether to declare an issue we had with a noisy neighbour upstairs. A few months ago the person upstairs started playing music at unsociable hours, very loud. We complained to the management agency (but not the council, and we have never taken legal action) about the noise. We have since resolved the issue with the person upstairs and she has texted us explaining that she won't play music loud after 11, and won't breach the terms of lease again. The questionnaire asks 'have there been any disputes or complaints regarding this property or a property nearby'. Should we declare this as a previous complaint?

Our Response:
Yes you probably should declare this. Put yes and add an explanation as you have done here.
ProblemNeighbours - 20-Feb-18 @ 11:08 AM
Hi there, My partner and I are selling our flat - we've found a buyer but are now looking at addressing the issue of whether to declare an issue we had with a noisy neighbour upstairs. A few months ago the person upstairs started playing music at unsociable hours, very loud. We complained to the management agency (but not the council, and we have never taken legal action) about the noise. We have since resolved the issue with the person upstairs and she has texted us explaining that she won't play music loud after 11, and won't breach the terms of lease again. The questionnaire asks 'have there been any disputes or complaints regarding this property or a property nearby'. Should we declare this as a previous complaint?
Jim bob - 15-Feb-18 @ 3:45 PM
L33l - Your Question:
Hi, I pulled a shared boundary fence that was rotten down two years ago. My neighbor wasn’t happy and called the police, after they explained it was a civil matter we both met at the police station to put the matter to bed. Nothing any more than that. Do I need to disclose this when I sell my house?? The police said I don’t as it never became a legal process

Our Response:
If there is no report of this, you may not have to mention it. It does however, depend on the wording in the seller's questionnaire...and you may be able to explain that the issue was resolved if so.
ProblemNeighbours - 12-Feb-18 @ 12:52 PM
Hi, I pulled a shared boundary fence that was rotten down two years ago. My neighbor wasn’t happy and called the police, after they explained it was a civil matter we both met at the police station to put the matter to bed. Nothing any more than that. Do I need to disclose this when I sell my house?? The police said I don’t as it never became a legal process
L33l - 9-Feb-18 @ 8:18 PM
Okavango- Your Question:
Hi, we have neighbours who have a small dog. It occasionally gets left alone and whines/ yaps the whole time theyre out. We've asked them to remove her from ajoining rooms to no avail. It's generally not in unsociable hours but it does annoy, though maybe I'm being sensitive. We plan to try and sell soon, is this something I need to tell prospective buyers about?

Our Response:
If you haven't complained to local authorities etc you may not needs to mention this when you sell...it really depends how the questionnaire is worded.
ProblemNeighbours - 6-Feb-18 @ 10:12 AM
Hi, we have neighbours who have a small dog. It occasionally gets left alone and whines/ yaps the whole time theyre out. We've asked them to remove her from ajoining rooms to no avail. It's generally not in unsociable hours but it does annoy, though maybe I'm being sensitive. We plan to try and sell soon, is this something I need to tell prospective buyers about?
Okavango - 4-Feb-18 @ 12:21 AM
Hi, I’ve just bought a house and only after buying did I find out my neighbor is a sex offender. The person I bought from was good friends with the neighbors and I fail to see how they wouldn’t have known. What do I do?
worrieddude - 22-Jan-18 @ 7:27 AM
Hi I’ve just become a first time buyer so new at all this. From start to end and ongoing this new property has been a nightmare as looks are deceiving to the untrained eye. I am a nurse and work shifts including nights and this was discussed with the vendor when discussing noise as I was looking for a quiet property to enable sleep due to my ever changing work commitments. He informed me his wife was a nurse and their bedroom (now mine) and the rest of the house was extremely quiet. The street is quiet however my neighbours television sounds like it’s in my living room and the two bedrooms connected as it’s semi detached. I also hear the husband and wife shouting loudly to each other once they finally turn the tv off after 11.30pm. Their both elderly from what the other neighbours have told me and I’ve tried knocking to introduce myself and request they turn it down a touch but I never get an answer. What can I do and where do I stand legally with the vendor for false information now the sales complete?
Tired neighbour - 10-Jan-18 @ 11:45 PM
Steve Turner - Your Question:
Hi,My neighbour to the side has put a raised patio in the corner of their garden adjoining mine at the rear.They have now put a large summer House type building immediately next to my fence. It is large and obtrusive. I’ve read the regulations which indicate a max height of 2.5m, the new summer house is way in excess of this.They have not spoken to us about their addition but I want to handle things appropriately. We are neighbours not friends. Help please.

Our Response:
Yes - if it's within two metres of the boundary the maximum height is 2.5 metres. If you feel they're not within the permitted development limits, contact your planning department.
ProblemNeighbours - 13-Dec-17 @ 3:47 PM
Hi, My neighbour to the side has put a raised patio in the corner of their garden adjoining mine at the rear. They have now put a large summer House type building immediately next to my fence. It is large and obtrusive. I’ve read the regulations which indicate a max height of2.5m, the new summer house is way in excess of this. They have not spoken to us about their addition but I want to handle things appropriately. We are neighbours not friends. Help please.
Steve Turner - 12-Dec-17 @ 9:59 PM
Rouss - Your Question:
We live in a terraced house and had building work completed 1.5 years ago on the ground floor (garage converted to kitchen diner). Regulations were followed, we had the work completed by a reputable builder and have all the required paperwork to demonstrate correct procedures/building regs were adhered to.In the 1.5 years since the work our neighbour has not once complained and we have amicable relations with them. That was until we put our house on the market last month. As soon as the for sale sign went up we started receiving letters saying the building work was substandard, that we hadn't followed regs and that he could hear noise from us all the time such as sneezing and singing. We spoke to him and he accepted that we had building regs and we thought the issue was resolved but a few days after the sold sign has gone up the letters have started again with accusations of cutting into third party walls (which we haven't) and failure to adhere to fire regulations. He has even made trips into the estate agent to hand deliver letters saying that he's reported us to the council for the poor building work. We feel he's trying to prevent us selling, although we're unsure why. Do we have to declare this? What are our options?

Our Response:
If the works have been passed by your local building regulations department the neighbour doesn't really have much evidence to take this any further. As for the noise complaints, has he approached the council (environmental health) with his complaint. You may have to declare his complaint - depending upon the way the seller's questionnaire is phrased.
ProblemNeighbours - 6-Dec-17 @ 2:23 PM
We live in a terraced house and had building work completed 1.5 years ago on the ground floor (garage converted to kitchen diner). Regulations were followed, we had the work completed by a reputable builder and have all the required paperwork to demonstrate correct procedures/building regs were adhered to. In the 1.5 years since the work our neighbour has not once complained and we have amicable relations with them. That was until we put our house on the market last month. As soon as the for sale sign went up we started receiving letters saying the building work was substandard, that we hadn't followed regs and that he could hear noise from us all the time such as sneezing and singing. We spoke to him and he accepted that we had building regs and we thought the issue was resolved but a few days after the sold sign has gone up the letters have started again with accusations of cutting into third party walls (which we haven't) and failure to adhere to fire regulations. He has even made trips into the estate agent to hand deliver letters saying that he's reported us to the council for the poor building work. We feel he's trying to prevent us selling, although we're unsure why. Do we have to declare this? What are our options?
Rouss - 5-Dec-17 @ 8:28 PM
Potter - Your Question:
Hi, We have just put up a summer house - after getting permission form builders and meeting all of the Town & Country planning regs, our neighbor has shouted through the fence, taken photos and is going to go to the builders because she can see it from her window. Is this harassment?

Our Response:
No it's not harassment, your neighbour is just annoyed. As long as you have complied with planning and building control regulations however, there's not much your neighbour can do. If you required planning consent for the summerhouse, the neighbour would have been consulted as a matter of course beforehand.
ProblemNeighbours - 15-Nov-17 @ 11:22 AM
Hi, We have just put up a summer house - after getting permission form builders and meeting all of the Town & Country planning regs, our neighbor has shouted through the fence, taken photos and is going to go to the builders because she can see it from her window. Is this harassment?
Potter - 14-Nov-17 @ 10:34 AM
Tigger - Your Question:
We have sent complaints on two occasions to the council, once in 2013 and again in 2016 about cockerel noise from a neighbouring property. An abatement notice was issued in 2013. What would we have to declare as we are thinking of moving next year.

Our Response:
You may have to declare both complaints depending onhow the questions in the seller's pack are phrased.
ProblemNeighbours - 13-Nov-17 @ 11:59 AM
We have sent complaints on two occasions to the council, once in 2013 and again in 2016 about cockerel noise from a neighbouring property. An abatement notice was issued in 2013. What would we have to declare as we are thinking of moving next year.
Tigger - 10-Nov-17 @ 11:28 AM
JoeBlogs - Your Question:
HiI just moved into my new house five days ago.When I viewed the house I specifically asked if they ever heard any noise from the neighbours and they said no they never hear anything.They did not comment of any noise on the questionnair from the solicitor before buying the house.The bass on the neighbours tv system is so loud it echoes through my entire house and is inescapable.If find this impossible to believe they hadn’t noticed it.Is there anything I can do?Kind regards

Our Response:
You could ask you solicitor to look into this. Could it be that they neighbours have a new TV or the previous owner simply didn't notice because their own TV system was so loud?
ProblemNeighbours - 3-Nov-17 @ 10:07 AM
Hi I just moved into my new house five days ago. When I viewed the house I specifically asked if they ever heard any noise from the neighbours and they said no they never hear anything. They did not comment of any noise on the questionnair from the solicitor before buying the house. The bass on the neighbours tv system is so loud it echoes through my entire house and is inescapable. If find this impossible to believe they hadn’t noticed it. Is there anything I can do? Kind regards
JoeBlogs - 2-Nov-17 @ 5:01 AM
My down stairs neighbours are social housing tenants;They are noisy and anti social. I've discussed it with my freeholder (the housing association) but not with the council or police. However my next door neighbour has called the police and the council about this on several occasions as it also impacts her. How will this impact me selling my flat? Any advice on how to resolve this issue without impacting on a future sale?
Cate - 25-Oct-17 @ 8:39 AM
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