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Solicitor advised we meet neighbours before exchanging

(39 Posts)
mumtorobbie Thu 05-Apr-12 15:58:40

Went to solicitor's today to sign the contracts and he advised we introduce ourselves to the neighbours either side before we exchange to ascertain whether they're likely to be a nightmare or not.

Bit surprised by this advice as I don't think one quick hello is likely to reveal whether we're going to be plagued by noise or anti-social behaviour.

Is this standard advice these days?

mrswoodentop Thu 05-Apr-12 16:02:12

sounds to me as if he has heard something but is unable to tell you (maybe breach of confidentiality or something),thius would ring alarm bells to me ,maybe the other solicitor has mentioned something

mumtorobbie Thu 05-Apr-12 16:11:00

I think it's because the old lady we are buying from lets her neighbour park on her drive and instead of sending an official letter to her asking her to make sure they remove their car when the house becomes our property, it would be best to get off on the right foot by saying a friendly hello.

None of the official paperwork mentions any problems with the neighbours although we know this doesn't mean a thing really.

BerthaTheBogBurglar Thu 05-Apr-12 16:11:25

That sounds like a hint, to me, too.

Maybe the people you should speak to are the ones on the other sides of your neighbours-to-be.

lesley33 Thu 05-Apr-12 16:12:50

Does sound like a hint. Although tbh I think you can tell a lot from a quick hello to potential neighbours. We always do this before buying.

BerthaTheBogBurglar Thu 05-Apr-12 16:12:54

Oh, x-posted. Yes, if I was the neighbour I'd rather you came and rang the bell, said hello and explained that you'd be needing the drive yourself from x-date, rather than sending me a solicitor's letter.

mumtorobbie Thu 05-Apr-12 16:18:28

I was going to pop by anyway because we're having alot of work done on the house and it's only fair we warn both sides in case of noise.

I did think sending an official letter re the car was a bit heavy handed, which is why I think he advised going round to see them.

I suppose I'm a bit over sensitive about this issue because years ago I had terrible trouble with a neighbour and him playing music all night long and I don't want another repeat, especially as we're spending so much money on it and we have young children.

PigletJohn Thu 05-Apr-12 16:31:50

I'm selling a house and the neighbour has been out to harangue the prospective buyer, and the estate agent, and the valuer, whoever turns up, to say that she will be objecting to any planning application for an extension sad

She is currently having an extension built herself.

Tiago Thu 05-Apr-12 16:41:11

It's not normal advice - its a hint. I would do it, and I would ask you solicitor whether there is any risk hat the neighbour will, on the sale, gain a right to park on the drive. Ask in writing. I may be wrong and provably am, but alarm bells are ringing from my old land law studies.

Tiago Thu 05-Apr-12 16:41:32


mumtorobbie Thu 05-Apr-12 16:46:34

He said the neighbours have no legal right to park on the drive and he's going to send an informal letter to my seller just making sure that she's aware it needs to be moved. I think she was just doing it as a favour to them.

He said he advises all his clients to meet their neighbours before exchanging and if the seller hasn't declared any disputes or problems, we'd be able to take legal action against her anyway (not that it would come to that I hope!)

granule Thu 05-Apr-12 17:02:32

Bertha's advice to introduce yourselves to your neighbours-but-one is very good. could prove more illuminating.

thomasbodley Thu 05-Apr-12 18:19:36

Due diligence, innit.

This is probably the biggest financial investment you'll ever make, and you've not even checked out the neighbours yet? shock

Did you check out the wannabe rockstars before you bought next door? If not, I'm afraid you only have yourselves to blame (unless of course they moved in afterwards, in which case you should have behaved like PigletJohn's neigbour grin).

Smum99 Thu 05-Apr-12 18:59:08

My friend moved into a house where the neighbour had a similar parking arrangement and they parked outside her house on the day she moved in meaning the removal lorry was blocked. Any attempt to have a sensible conversation was blocked as the neighbours believed they had 'rights'.

It has caused massive stress for my friend and she regrets buying the house. I hope it isn't the case for you but be wary and assume there could be a problem.

TheCokeMachine Thu 05-Apr-12 19:24:11

That is a warning, he is not obilged to say that and is trying to tell you something.

It is not standard advice, proceed with caution.

tricot39 Thu 05-Apr-12 23:02:14

It may not be standard legal advice but it's a good idea. We did this and asked other neighbours (we knew) about our immediate neighbours. We decided that one set would be "ok". They didn't turn out great but they moved after a couple of years. Next time if they looked anything other than great I would probably not buy. Good neighbours are essential for a quiet life.

Shakey1500 Thu 05-Apr-12 23:06:29

I would also take it as a "I can't officially say owt but beware" hint as well. Hope it just the parking issue and that they're onside.

trixymalixy Thu 05-Apr-12 23:12:47

I agree with others, he is trying to tell you something, you'd be wise to investigate further.

echt Fri 06-Apr-12 00:19:58

Yikes, does sound like a rather large hint, and one I'd take.

When recce-ing the house we eventually bought, I called on the next door neighbour to see why two previous sales had fallen through, and was there anything I needed to know. They were utterly charming, told me lots about the house, including the fact that had it been available when they were looking, they'd have bought

They have proved to be excellent neighbours, even taking it gracefully when we knocked back their extension planning application.grin

SoupDreggon Fri 06-Apr-12 07:57:19

Ask him outright if he believe there is a problem with the neighbours. He will either say he has no idea or he will say " I can't possibly make such a suggestion" which means yes.

heliumballoon Fri 06-Apr-12 08:18:48

I am surprised TBH that you haven't met the neighbours yet, especially given your previous bad experience with a neighbour. Gallop around ASAP!

Flightty Fri 06-Apr-12 08:19:41

Neighbours are critical.

We were very lucky here and didn't meet our people upstairs, and they turned out to be absolutely amazing. Top floor not so great but we can't hear them mostly

Next door one side is great, the other side is NHS and we've had a few minor issues with the clientele, but nothing we can't ignore most of the time.

Our last house was GREAT in the day time but from the first night onwards, we discovered we were disturbed by drunken students at approx 2am. Every night. Worst was opposite to it lived a family who were very long standing friends of ours, we grew up with their daughter, etc etc and they never once thought to tell us there was a serious noise problem.

I wished I'd camped out there overnight before moving in, it was that bad.

Go and check it out. Good luck.

mumtorobbie Fri 06-Apr-12 11:23:11

We're going round there today to introduce ourselves but i did give the solicitor a ring yesterday afternoon and he said he only suggested we pop round to the neighbours who are parking on our soon-to-be drive as a common courtesy thing.

I think he felt he'd panicked us a bit and said as far as he was concerned he'd heard nothing from the seller to alert him to any potential problems.

I'll let you know how we get on!

hermionestranger Fri 06-Apr-12 11:30:11

YY to checking neighbours out! We have a nightmare one and nothing declared in legal stuff because nightmare neighbour is the vendors daughter and granddaughter! Solicitor said we have no comeback!

MoreBeta Fri 06-Apr-12 11:48:20

I'd take your solicitor's advice too. In fact, I would drive round at different times of day and night to check out the area.

I live in a terribly genteel area, lovely old houses, lovely views, retired doctors, dentists, generals, etc.

Come round at 11 pm and we have drug dealer in the road outside who try and escape the police dogs and helicopters by climbing over our gates.

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