Conveyancing How to Guides...

Neighbour Disputes: Do I Have to Inform Buyers?

Reading time: 3 mins

Carrie Tennick, July 29, 2021

When you’re ready to sell your house, you know potential buyers are going to want to know a lot about your property, the local area and your neighbours.

This can be intimidating – especially if you’re looking to secure a quick sale – but it has to be done.

We’ve put together this guide to help you work out just what you need to tell buyers about – including if you have to mention any neighbour disputes.

Disclosure of neighbour disputes

One of the most common concerns sellers have is whether they have to inform buyers about any disputes they’ve had with their neighbours. The answer may not be what some sellers want to hear.

You will need to make sure that a buyer is told about any disputes you’ve had with a neighbour. If you don’t and the issue then turns into a dispute for them too, they have the right to take legal action against you. And this could be years after you sold the home.

When you sell, you’ll have to fill out a TA6 property information form. This form features a section on disputes. This gives you the chance to come clean about neighbour disputes – or risk legal action in the future.

The form also asks if you’re aware of anything that might lead to a dispute about the property. So even if your issues haven’t reached boiling point and you haven’t yet had it out with a neighbour, you’re still required to list anything that could cause problems for a new owner.

What counts as a dispute?

There are certain things that you are legally required to tell buyers about. There are also certain disagreements or issues that could be more subjective, which you don’t necessarily have to inform anyone of.

Generally, you won’t risk legal action if you don’t declare the problems you have with your neighbours playing music too loudly in the afternoon or their children playing in the street. These kinds of issues rarely end up with official action being taken. And all buyers are different – just because you find these things problematic, that doesn’t mean all buyers will.

It’s those that do end up in any sort of official activity that you have to declare. This could be written communication between you and your neighbour – or your legal representatives. For example, legal action may be required for issues like boundary disputes. And if your local council had to get involved to sort out a dispute between you and a neighbour, you’ll need to disclose this.

You’ll also be legally required to inform buyers of any issues that needed police involvement – including whether your neighbour received a notice for antisocial behaviour. According to the government, antisocial behaviour includes:

  • Drunken or threatening behaviour
  • Playing music loudly at night
  • Vandalism or graffiti

This means that if your neighbours are guilty of any of these things, you will likely have to list them as potential issues that could lead to a dispute.

What to do about neighbour disputes

If you’re in the middle of a neighbour dispute but you need to sell your house, one option is to try to resolve any conflicts. Although you’ll still have to tell buyers about the issue, a dispute that has come to a conclusion will be a lot easier for a buyer to handle than one that’s still ongoing.

The first thing to try is approaching your neighbour to talk through the problem. You may be able to find a solution without the need for additional services to get involved. But this is likely something you will have tried already.

You could then try mediation. This could be done by a professional, who could help you and your neighbour come to an agreement. But this isn’t always effective. When this doesn’t work, you could try to get your local council to support you. But remember that getting an organisation like this involved could look negative to a prospective buyer.

If you’re not sure what to do about a dispute with your neighbour during a house sale, a specialist conveyancing solicitor could provide you with the guidance you need. To find out how First4Lawyers could find you the right legal team, just give us a call or make an enquiry online.

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