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Declaring neighbour disputes when selling - What do I have to declare?

(26 Posts)
bubbleandsqueaks Thu 20-Jan-11 19:57:52

We are considering selling our house but have had problems with our neighbours which we have reported.

We are now in the position where this could prevent us from selling or at least force us to reduce the price.

The issues we have had with our immediat neighbours have been the anti social behaviour from their teenage sons hanging around the front of their house with their friends, this is now greatly reduced due to a visit from the council.

The main problem was the mending of vehicles in the back garden and the noise created - this has stopped now as the council installed a gate which has prevented vehicle access to the garden.

We have also had problems with the neighbours friends who have egged our house, damaged our TV cable and poured brake fluid over our car. This was all roughly two years ago.

Last week however, someone threatened and broke our front garden fence - we know his cousin his friends with our neighbours but he doesn't actually live in this area.

What of this do we have to declare? If we said all this we could never sell

ChippingInSmellyCheeseFreak Thu 20-Jan-11 20:53:10

I'm glad you posted it over here - I'm sure you'll get some sensible advice soon!

PatriciaHolm Thu 20-Jan-11 20:54:50

Generally, advice is to declare everything - sorry. Even resolved issues; you have to explain what happened to resolve things.

If you don't declare something and the buyer then has issues, and realises you didn't declare something, then you could be sued. The council will have records of their visits, your complaints, as will the police.


JetSetWilly Thu 20-Jan-11 20:55:50

Who said you do have to declare it? Are you thinking of the HIP packs? BecUse they've been scrapped now. Haven't they???

PatriciaHolm Thu 20-Jan-11 21:02:35

It's not the HIP - it's the Sellers Property Information Form, which covers all sorts of things such as boundaries, guarantees, etc. It includes a section on disputes, past and present.

bubbleandsqueaks Thu 20-Jan-11 21:11:30

We purchased in 2007 - I don't remember a SPIF but if I could find one, or at least find some piece of evidence which says there were no problems with the neighbours could I sue the previous owners of our house?

I know there were problems with the neighbours back then as the previous owner of our house had his tyres slashed and our other neighbours told us that the previous owners had also reported them.

How much does it cost to sue though?

FabbyChic Thu 20-Jan-11 21:37:08

Housing Packs were abolished in May 2007.

There is no need to declare anything as you no longer have to supply a Housing Pack.

You just put your house up for sale and sell it.

FabbyChic Thu 20-Jan-11 21:37:58

Sorry May 2010.

B&S you might find that your previous owner should have declared it in their pack.

You would not have to though.

It costs a lot to sue your household insurance might cover it if you have legal cover.

LittlePushka Thu 20-Jan-11 21:52:03

There is no obligation for you to provide the SPIF or to reply to all of the questions therein if you do provide one. However, if your solicitors are using national protocol then replies would be expected by the buyers side and if you left it blank, any solicitor or conveyancer with his/her buttons on would pounce on that fact and either make further enquiries and at least advise the buyer.

It is virtually unheard of for residential sellers who also occupy (ie with actual knowledge of the property) not to reply without genuine reason.

RambleOn Thu 20-Jan-11 22:09:50

Sorry B&S, have posted on your other thread.

prh47bridge Thu 20-Jan-11 22:53:23

Yes, HIPs have gone. But the buyer's solicitor is likely to ask you to complete a SPIF. This includes 3 questions about disputes with your neighbours. If you are asked to complete this form and you do not disclose information about problems with the neighbours the buyers may be able to sue you for compensation. As LittlePushka says, if you left the relevant questions blank I would expect the buyer's solicitor to pick that up and query it.

kuckingfunt Thu 20-Jan-11 23:09:43

I am not 100% sure of the legalities within propery - you could ask CAB for advise. However, you do have to declare disputes. I think that this means disputes that you have raised as formal complaints rather than arguments/disagreements with neighbours. It has to be something that has been formalised somehow with a complaint.

Please do check this though - you will be able to get some guidance on this before completing the declaration.

LittlePushka Thu 20-Jan-11 23:23:57

I disagree with kuckingfunt - on both points. You do not HAVE to declare disputes (or answer any question for that matter).

Secondly, dispute in this context has the meaning that common parlance would give to it - it therefore means any disagreement with neighbours within a property context, "formal" or otherwise. Op's points are clearly a dispute within any reasonable interpretation of the word!

kuckingfunt Thu 20-Jan-11 23:35:20

LittlePushka - I thought you had to declare any that have involved formal complaints - I did say I may be wrong and it seems I am!

Sorry if my info is incorrect - I am not well versed in the legalities of selling property and will go now!blush

I suggest you maybe get some advise OP so you know exactly what you do and don't have to declare.

LittlePushka Thu 20-Jan-11 23:51:07

You don't have to answer any question - there is no legal obligation to do so, but any that you do answer must not knowingly mislead or misrepresent. A misrepresentation is, simplistically, a representation which is incorrect and which affect either the decision to buy, or to buy at this price. misrepresentation not only affects the buyer but any mortgagee of the buyer.

My advice to OP has to be if you are going to answer the question, then answer it fully and honestly.

bubbleandsqueaks Fri 21-Jan-11 09:15:19

If I were to phone the council would they tell me if they still held records of complaints made by the previous owner of my house?

bubbleandsqueaks Fri 21-Jan-11 10:52:12

Right I have dug out the SPIF that the previous owners filled in and they have basically lied through their back teeth. They say they never had any disputes, made no formal complaints and never asked the neighbour to stop.

This is all lies.

I get free legal cover with work and am now waiting for a phone call back.

ChippingInSmellyCheeseFreak Fri 21-Jan-11 11:38:16

Bubble - let us know when you have spoken to them!

bubbleandsqueaks Fri 21-Jan-11 14:04:35

Well the bad news is that its not legal cover I get free but legal advice.

The advice was I have the basis for a claim, we could potentially claim for the amount that we would lose due to declaring the disputes.

I need more detailed advice though. I am going to phone the council when I get the chance to see firstly what records they hold about us and to see if they tell me what records they hold about the previous owner. If they hold nothing then I don't think we can forward with a claim.

ChippingInSmellyCheeseFreak Fri 21-Jan-11 16:23:16


I hope you get time to ring them this afternoon so you can get as much info as you can before the weekend.

ElsieMc Fri 21-Jan-11 16:30:48

I worked for a solicitor as a fee earner undertaking conveyancing for years. Things may well have changed, but we always, always advised clients to declare any issues with neighbours. I don't for one minutes suggest including egg throwing incidents etc.

A decent solicitor would advise you on what to put. For example our neighbours complained about our hedge being too high, they are miserable old gits who moan about everything. My answer to this would be that my lovely neighbours requested me to reduce the height of my hedge and we complied with this request. There have been no further issues.

The only problem here is that if you have someone on-the-ball on the other side, they will then ask to see any correspondence about the issue. Just hope you get someone who can't be bothered - I had one solicitor fail to notice there was a flying freehold on the property his clients were purchasing and realised on the date of completion when he had to rush and take out an insurance policy on behalf of his clients.

I have however heard of one or two people who have sued those who have not declared a previous neighbour dispute. Sadly, this couldcome back to bite you because these people will always be anti-social and the problems will inevitably continue. You, sadly, have been the victim of someone else's failure to disclose. I always felt sorry for people who declared, because at the day why should the actions of others mean you cannot sell your largest asset.

Weigh up your options and get some advice.

ChippingInSmellyCheeseFreak Fri 21-Jan-11 17:06:40

Elsie - that's interesting. This is the original thread here out of those things what would you suggest she needs to declare?

Also who do you think is the best person to get advice from?

ElsieMc Fri 21-Jan-11 18:05:41

Get advice from solicitor who specialises in conveyancing. However, you could get a licensed conveyancer who are often just as good.

I have personally never been asked to declare noise nuisance/anti-social behaviour issues, although this is down to the fact that no-one ever bothered to tell me!

Often solicitors send you the form and just ask you to fill it in and return it - they won't know if you don't tell them. You will need to consider your response carefully and take their advice.

By the same token, if a property you are purchasing makes some mention of any dispute, or right of way issues, get your legal reps to look into in detail. Once bitten, twice shy.

CarrotsAreNotTheOnlyVegetables Fri 21-Jan-11 20:40:49

You have to answer any questions asked honestly or you will be liable to be sued for damages.

However, most standard questions are about disputes with neighbours only, so would appear to be no need to disclose problems with neighbours friends.

We had years of problems with an ex tenant of vendors who caused criminal damage to the house and our cars for years, but because he was not a neighbour no specific questions were asked about the problems they had with him so they could not be held liable for keeping quiet about it.

Shazam2003 Sun 17-May-15 23:27:31

Hi I sold my house a few weeks back and before I put it on the market,I did ring a solicitor first to ask that if we did want to sell would we have to disclose a problem that we had with our neighbour 4 years ago.She said no as it was over two years ago so obviously when we sold our house,we put no to the question regarding disputes with neighbours,thinking that would be fine as the solicitor knows the guidelines etc.well since then,we have double-checked just on the net and found out that actually we do need to disclose info no matter how long ago it was.we are on the verge of signing contracts and people have paid out money for surveys etc and we have a moving date.Does anyone know if there is a time limit to how long ago a dispute was and if it definitely has to be disclosed if it was more than 3 years ago? Thank you!

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