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Legal/property types - the vendors of our house lied to us - is there anything we can do?(17 Posts)
We bought our house just under a year ago. When we bought it, they ticked the box on the form that says we have never had any disputes with our neighbours. It turns out that this was cobblers of the first order. They had regular arguments about the noise our now next door neighbours made, complained about them, and even went round and asked them to shut up during viewings.
Now next door are noisy, irritatingly so. They have a barking dog which goes off in the night (and they sleep at the front so don't hear it), and a teenage son who plays music so loud that I can hear it in every room in the house (oh how I am looking forward to the summer holidays...) and you can hear them in the garden all the sodding time. But having said that, they are generally reasonable (and we might shell out and get some headphones for mr teenager).
But is there anything we can do now? I don't know if we would have bought the house had we known - perhaps not, as I went through a really bad noise nuisance case when I lived in London. But we might have done.
bumping for any property lawyers at their desks this morning.
(I've had an exceptionally bad night at the hands of next door's dog, and right now I feel like sueing the arse off them)
How do you know they went round?
Only asking because it's down to interpretation if nothing is written down like complaints to the police etc. AFAIK.
sorry, meant complaints to council, noise abatement etc
We know this because the neighbours themselves have told us (tbh there seems to have been no love lots on either side). I don't know yet whether there is anything written down - am trying to decide whether it is worth pursuing it. I suspect that next door would probably give a statement to a solicitor quite happily...
The question on the Seller's Information Form is pretty clear though; it says have you ever complained to your neighbour about anything they have or have not done - not have you complained to the council.
You might be able to sue the vendors. Does your home insurance policy cover legal costs of this? The insurers might specify which solicitors you use.
The main case is in connection with an old lady who also said no complaints with neighbours when in fact she had written to her neighbour about repairing cars in his drive. After the old lady sold the house her neighbour was made redundant and started running a car repair business from home. The new owners' house was worth less as a result, and they successfully sued the old lady for the reduction in value.
A noise case would be harder though.
Thankyou. Yes it does, I think I will put in a call to them when I have my brain back.
I think what gives us an advantage though, is my previous history with noise problems, making it much more likely that we wouldn't have gone for this house.
What I'd like, ideally, is the amount of money that it cost us to move - stamp duty, fees etc - so that we could move again without any financial penalty.
Right now, although I love the house, I would be very happy to cut our losses and move on if we had the money to do so.
Have you spoken to your neighbours about their dog? You say they don't hear it but are they aware of the nuisance it is causing? If they aren't, perhaps they would do something to stop it if you ask. Alternatively you can contact the council about noise abatement or even the RSPCA as it cannot be acceptable to have a dog barking all night.
Yes, they managed to keep it in and quiet for about ten days. Then Friday night it was in the garden and barking at 3am () and last night barking between 10;45 and 1 am. We will go round tonight, and I dare say it will get better for a bit.
But it's a semi-traumatised ex-rescue Beagle, and if they are out late or something, it will bark. So I'll just be tense, in bed, waiting for the next episode.
And tbh, that's what's getting to me, I'm now just waiting for the next thing, whether it's the dog, or the pounding house music when I'm trying to feed dd her tea at 5. I am not enjoying being in my own house any more.
You need to check the pre-contract enquiries the vendors of your house provided. Check with your solicitor who did the conveyancing - the vendors and their solicitors will have almost certainly answered what we call "CPSE Enquiries" which are standard form property questions.
They cover everything from listed building status to who maintains boundary fences to planning permission for extensions to disputes (the latter of which is obviusly relevant to you ).
They will have had to provide an answer concerning disputes with adjoining property owners or occupiers. The "Disputes" question is at section 28 of the CPSE1 Enquiries and is wide enough to cover mere complaints - you don't have to be suing the arse off them in court to be counted as a dispute. If the vendors deliberately lied on that form, then you may have an action for "fraudulent misrepresentation" i.e. a lie which amounted to a representation of the position which induced you to enter into the contract for sale. "Fraudulent Mis- representation" is tricky to prove though, unless your neighbours will swear a witness statement essentially saying they had a dispute with dates and times of arguments and in damages against them. Are there any complaints letters?
It also depends exactlky what they answered to the CPSE Quentions and the depths of your pockets for legal fees to sue them, I suppose.
Having said that, I did hear of a case recently in London where someone sued for this due to noise through a wooden floor between flats and noise transfer and they won damages.
p.s. when you sell up vonsuden, you'll have to answer the same question honestly too concerning disputes if you complain to your neighbours in anything more than a friendly chat across the garden wall. Always best to own up to anything up front even if you think it will put off a buyer.
sorry to sound to preachy and holier than thou
Thanks GG, that's very helpful.
I've got our copy of the Enquiries, and they definitely answered 'No" to the disputes question. No caveats, nothing, just no.
And I think I will be doing this through our household legal expenses insurance, so it's down to the depths of our pockets.
FWIW, I think that - from what I understand of how comprehensive the dispute was between our vendors and next door (although obviously I am getting a partial version of this!) that a solicitor's letter might persuade the vendors to settle.
They - apparently - went round to next door every time we came to see the house - and begged them to be quiet while we were there. And I see no reason why next door should make this up, it's such a wierd thing to do. So I think they know they lied.
Don't worry - we will - am hoping that the dog in question will keel over from old age/get rehomed before we move...
I don't usually do residential conveyancing, so maybe a little behind the times with the advent of whether there are HIPS v CPSE enquiries - when did you buy the house?
The difficulty I can see is that you have to prove that their statement caused you loss. If you are not in any actual dispute with your neighbours over the noise and you get on well, then it's a bit of an odd one. Trying to prove you have lost from a dispute your vendors had with neighbours, but you don't, even though the noise annoys you seems strange. If you get on well with yours neighbours, try noise insulating the walls/floors and agreeing dog gets kept in at night
CPSE enquiries - we bought the house almost exactly a year ago.
To be honest we are moving into the area of dispute - we've tried asking nicely about the dog, and that worked for about 10 days, but having been woken up at 3am over the weekend, and then being kept awake between 10;45 and 12.45 last night (and then unable to sleep until 4 thanks to impotent fury - the pregnancy hormones don't help) I am now feeling rather under siege.
And right now, I would not have bought this house, and I want to live somewhere else. I'd quite like enough money to get out of here, but know that won't happen.
And forgot to say - thankyou for all the advice, it's very handy.
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