Have you been blighted by issues with your neighbours for years? Are they the reason that you’re selling your property? If you answered yes to either of these questions then you’re facing a conundrum when it comes to selling your home. Should you inform prospective buyers about any problems you’ve incurred with your neighbours, and run the risk of this disclosure driving down the market value of your property? Let’s look at your options:
Depending on what the problem is you will need to take on this issue on a case by case basis. If it’s a simple clash of personalities then new owners could be perfectly fine with your neighbours. Things that could be considered anti-social behaviour like playing music loudly at night or if they have a dog that barks a lot can often be considered subjective, so unless you asked outright regarding this then you’re not at liberty to disclose these issues. If there have been verbal or physical threats, while you may not have to mention it legally you may feel a moral obligation to let them know. After all, wouldn’t you want to know if there was a thug living next door to you and your family?
If your neighbourly disputes have arisen from problems regarding boundary issues (disputes involving land, or fence/hedges) or shared house maintenance these will need to be declared. If they are not and this is discovered, you could be liable too from not disclosing something you were fully aware of. Unfortunately, it’s not a case of out of sight out of mind once you’ve moved out. Legal action can be taken if a seller fails to provide information about neighbour disputes or problems they may have had with neighbours when asked by a solicitor.
The best way to deal with any of these issues is to be speak frankly with your solicitor and they will be able to best advise you on what steps you should take when it comes to selling your home. While you may consider telling a little white lie or being vague when asked about your neighbours, it can come back to bite you, even after you have moved out.
If you’ve suffered a problem with your neighbours and are looking to sell your property but are unsure on how to respond to any questions from prospective buyers about these disputes, then your Solicitor or local Citizens’ Advice Bureau will be able to offer you practical advice on how to address it.