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What You Have to Declare About Neighbours When Selling

By: Sarah Clark (ILEX) - Updated: 16 Oct 2019 | 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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I am living in semi detached property and my neighbor has just installed his gutter but is using my drain and downspout. Can i refuse and close my gutters so he has to install his own downspout?
EL - 16-Oct-19 @ 11:49 AM
Thank you I need some advise my grandpa sold the house we staying in without informing us where can I get help we've got no where to go
jimboo - 9-Oct-19 @ 9:49 PM
Hello, I hope you will be able to help me. Our neighbours put their house on the market. We have on going dispute with them about the wall which was build in the boundaries, shared gutter which has been kicked off to our side and poorly designed drainage on front of the house. We have complained to our neighbours several times before house was put on the market and then to their estate agent. We have received no answers either from next door or agent. Today, I have seen on the Rightmove that house was sold. Our issues are still not resolved. What else we can do to ensure issues will be solved before they move out? Thank you for your help.
Kate - 1-Oct-19 @ 9:58 PM
We bought our house roughly 4 and half years ago and have had continued problems with them. From leaving mess everywhere which results in mess in our garden to rats coming through. My partner has been threatened. They seem to only be awake at night time causing loud noises which isn’t great when you have two little ones trying to sleep. That have 6 cars when there only three people who can drive live in the house and there is always drugs going around leading to some unpleasant people hanging around the place. My partners has called the police who have been out for many reasons about there behaviours and not just from us, and they have single handily ran out two other neighbours in the past year. I have a feeling well more like I know the previous tenants to our house had issues because the environmental people have told us! My gut feeling is they got out because of them. They never declared to us any issues with any neighbours in the paper work. Would there be any claim achievable because I definitely feel the house is worth dramatically more than what we paid for it just because of these neighbours. Any help would be great!
Luke - 29-Jul-19 @ 10:19 PM
Can someone complain if I go into my garden naked ?
Naturist - 16-Jul-19 @ 3:13 PM
ABY - suffered with this, and this could be viewed as stalking! No chance you could park out there to stop him, or a neighbour.. good luck. Some people are just....words fail!
Observer - 27-Jun-19 @ 12:59 PM
I really pity anyone having a hard time with anti-social behaviour issues and trying to sell.We're basically left to our own devices, lose money on your property, do the decent thing and declare or move on and say nothing, either way. Our society is broken! - sorry..fed up with no help, what are we all supposed to do? Politicians living in cloud cuckoo land, so far removed from every day society, just want to scream some days... Sorry rant over!Good luck to any poor soul in a no win situation with louts!
Observer - 27-Jun-19 @ 12:55 PM
hi i had some trouble with loud neighbours partying had to get the police involved , the police wouldnt do anything as said its an environmental health problem , phoned environmental health dept at council who investigated and also said there was no evidence even though our lives were unbearable with not being able to sleep etc , the noise has now stopped as the neighbour who was making the noise has moved out just leaving his mates living there , its been quiet for months now but we are putting our house on market , do we have to declare this to potential buyers even though the noise has stopped
andy - 16-Jun-19 @ 9:40 AM
Hi, hope you can help? My husband and I live in a private estate and a guy from the council estate across the road has started parking his large transit van right in front of our living room window - causing a nuisance and it’s intimidating.This is following a car collision between him and me last year where he admitted liability and all my damages were covered by his insurance. Due to his persistent parking and inability to heed police and his landlords warnings, we have decided to move. What do we tell prospective new owner? His gripe is with my husband and I so if we move he may stop parking at the window? But he may continue to do so as may think this is now his rightful parking place?? Thanks
ABY - 3-Jun-19 @ 7:40 PM
Hello, We are in the process of buying a house and probably 2 weeks from exchange and 5 from completion. Having done a quick search on the road I have come across 6 anti social behaviour police reports listed in that road within the past 18 months.The most recent was in January this year.The road only has 11 houses so this is something I am now really concerned about. Need some advice on what I should be doing now?Can I call the local police station for more information? Thanks in advance
Emmalou - 3-Jun-19 @ 4:53 PM
Would a potential landlord consider buying our ground floor flat when the tenant above has an antisocial Community warning notice against her
Cackyd60 - 26-May-19 @ 9:19 PM
My neighbours foster child has been bullying mine for a while but today has deliberately pushed her m over causing him to break his arm. We have reported the bullying to social care but they have done nothing. My husband want to report it to the police. Because this involves to minors would we have to declare it on the sale of our house?
LS - 26-Apr-19 @ 7:00 PM
I have just noticed that my new neighbours have built a lean to along their side pathway. It is attached on one side to their wall and on the other to the fence.The fence is along the boundary their side ownership. The roofing they have used hangs slightly over the edge of the fence which means that when it rains water will run straight into our garden and the space at the side of our house.They have not put any guttering on the material used for the lean to. I would like to know if we have any rights regarding this. It hasn't rained yet so I don't know what might happen.
Tops - 19-Apr-19 @ 2:04 PM
Had a horrid neighbour we reported them to the council they were useless done nothing about it police were never away from their house was like living beside animal probably animals are better behaved than them we lived there 13 months sold up as we didn't want to live there police presence was over 30 in 9 months he was exact we moved but no one in the village speaks to them hes a liar and a fraudster
Suzie - 18-Apr-19 @ 9:04 AM
I bought a my Victorian terrist house in October. There are 14?houses at one end of the street and 8 industrial units at the other. I understand parking is always an unimpressive subject however should it have been declared the industrial neighbours are an issue. For exampleUnit 3 (a garage) forgets to put the unit on his address, so I get his log books, speeding fines, customers etc at my door. As well as parking the vehicles on the street. The boxing gyms customers parking on the double yellow lines and pavements. Such this have been declared? Knowledge is power, if I know I could have made an informed decision
Rosie - 24-Mar-19 @ 7:59 AM
Bought our house to find out neighbouring property is a student hmo. Have had the odd noise incident from them. This is our 3rd different group as its new intakes each year. Do we have to declare this when selling?
Ev1974 - 13-Mar-19 @ 11:33 AM
Bought a house after the purchase was told by various neighbours that my next door neighbour had bought some land by my garage to a previous owner of the property I bought.I am told seller was aware of this, the neighbour confirms she had a copy of the letter, no one can show me the letter but never mentioned it on the forms when she sold it.The neighbour has admitted buying this part of land but nothing has been registered with the land Registry.I don’t know who she sold it to.How do I get this sorted fir future when I need to sell and have to make the buyers aware.
M - 27-Feb-19 @ 8:12 PM
Hi, I've just purchased a ground floor flat and was assured that there was no noise whatsoever from the neighbour upstairs as there were concrete floors! My first night in, he was loudly banging doors at all times of the day/night, he is very heavy footed and there is therefore constant loud noises from above when he moves around.He also has a very bad cough which I can hear at all times of the day / night and he wakes me up constantly during the night.Finally, I can hear his phone ring like it is in my flat. I was not informed of any of this by the seller, despite specifically asking if there were any noise issues from the flat above.Is there any come back on the sellers regarding this??I would not have bought the flat had I known of these noise issues and I am very upset/angry.
Fred - 27-Dec-18 @ 11:11 PM
Hi I am the lease holder for a first floor flat - my neighbours downstairs own the lease for me I own theirs. I have been in dispute with them for the last three years regarding their dogs consistently barking and being nasty to my cats. We have also fallen out numerous times when they’ve tried to control joint maintenance repairs. They have put their flat up for sale - should they be telling any prospective buyers about the disputes we have as I don’t want to have to go through all these issues all over again if the new owners have dogs. Thanks
Marmalade - 30-Nov-18 @ 1:26 PM
Hi, our neighbours are selling their property. it is currently empty but we have noticed that we have water coming in from their garden into our garage. we have exhausted all avenues trying to get access to repair or exchanging numbers to arrange access with no luck. We have been advised to seek legal advice. If we open a legal dispute against our neighbours will it stop them being able to sell the property?
jo capper - 27-Nov-18 @ 12:14 PM
The landlord Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) has a burnt out flat in my block which looks a mess. It has been left for months and I am trying to sell my flat. All comments from potential buyers are that the burnt flat is an eyesore therefore will not be pursuing with an offer on my flat. I have contacted my landlord RBKC and they have not responded. Do I have a legal standing as their burnt out flat which looks totally unacceptable is affecting the sale of my flat.
Mel - 18-Sep-18 @ 7:05 PM
My retired parents sold their home and moved recently. They have just received a letter from their buyer asking for £10,000 to pay for a new car port. The seller clams that they asked my parents about parking outside the front of the house and apparently my parents said it was not a problem. That was actually the case as the house has a driveway and my parents parked on it, so were not reliant on parking on the road. However, the seller's car does not fit on the driveway and they prefer to park on the road. Therefore, they are now in dispute with a neighbour who often parks outside the house, hence the £10K claim. My parents wrote "driveway" under Q9 of the TA6 and did not mention disputes because they had not had any themselves. As you can imagine my ageing parents are worried about losing their savings, so any advice?
Nigel - 17-Aug-18 @ 3:14 PM
How do I stand legally selling a leasehold flat when a problem neighbour is due to the tenant of a buy to let landlord. The landlord is aware of the situation but is choosing not to evict his tenant.
Claire - 6-Aug-18 @ 10:32 PM
None - Your Question:
We bought a flat in Aylesbury off plan. Connells Estate agent we’re selling them. We lived in Aberdeen and wanted to come back down south, we lived in High WycombeFor 30 years. We did come to see the flat while it was being built, and thought it was the back of shops or offices outside our window. The day we moved in a guy came to introduce himself, and asked if we were told about the smoking area of his night club outside our window. The noise goes on till 3am in the morning. My husband went round to the estate agent and she ignored him also the Solicitor we used was part of Connells they also ignored us. We have been everywhere to get help, no nobody seems to be able to help us, even the property omnibus went withe lying estate agents. We have now got the flat on the market, and will lose £100,000.This is all our life savings. I thought Estate agents had to tell you about the night clubs and the noise. Our life has been ruined. We bought this as a retirement flatWe are both in our seventies.

Our Response:
Unfortunately we don't really know enough about the circumstances under which you bought your home - and there is always an element of caveat emptor (buyer beware) in this kind of situation. You can talk to environmental health about the noise and the smoking...they'll be able to tell you about the licensing arrangements for the club and any restrictions on noise etc.
ProblemNeighbours - 1-Aug-18 @ 3:13 PM
We bought a flat in Aylesbury off plan. Connells Estate agent we’re selling them. We lived in Aberdeen and wanted to come back down south, we lived in High Wycombe For 30 years. We did come to see the flat while it was being built, and thought it was the back of shops or offices outside our window. The day we moved in a guy came to introduce himself, and asked if we were told about the smoking area of his night club outside our window. The noise goes on till 3am in the morning. My husband went round to the estate agent and she ignored him also the Solicitor we used was part of Connells they also ignored us. We have been everywhere to get help, no nobody seems to be able to help us, even the property omnibus went withe lying estate agents. We have now got the flat on the market, and will lose £100,000. This is all our life savings. I thought Estate agents had to tell you about the night clubs and the noise. Our life has been ruined. We bought this as a retirement flat We are both in our seventies.
None - 31-Jul-18 @ 2:40 PM
Bit of advice please, we had a buyer who pulled out because of a comment she had seen on Facebook between us and our immediate neighbour having a bit of banter about someone who lives down the road with comments about him working on his car and various other jokes on his behalf. She is declaring this as a neighbour dispute and stating that we have lied on our PSIF by stating there is not a dispute. Her solicitor has now been touch stating that they want payment of our ex purchasers legal fees otherwise they’ll be taking us to small claims court. I’m wondering if they actually have a case, we’ve been told by our conveyancer and estate agent that they don’t believe they do.
AS1992 - 7-Jul-18 @ 2:59 PM
J - Your Question:
We’re selling our house and are just waiting for bank confirmations , We’ve just heard about a potential development nearby through hearsay , we’ve had no letters or anything official to say it’s going to happen. Are we obliged to tell our estate agent ?

Our Response:
You're not obliged to tell the estate agent (an estate agent should be well aware of everything going on in the vicinity) but if a buyer becomes interested you will need to answer any questions on the seller's information questionnaire sent by the solicitor, truthfully.See article here for more information.
ProblemNeighbours - 26-Jun-18 @ 3:38 PM
We’re selling our house and are just waiting for bank confirmations , We’ve just heard about a potential development nearby through hearsay , we’ve had no letters or anything official to say it’s going to happen. Are we obliged to tell our estate agent ?
J - 24-Jun-18 @ 2:33 PM
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
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