Can I sell my house with an ongoing neighbour dispute?

An ongoing neighbour dispute can be incredibly distressing.

Recent research suggests more than one in ten Brits do not have a good relationship with their neighbours. Of those asked, three percent said they felt relations with their neighbours had worsened or significant worsened since the pandemic lockdowns.

So, where does that leave you if you want to sell your house? Can nuisance neighbours stop you being able to move house? Do you have to tell your buyer about arguing with your neighbour? What happens if you don’t tell the person buying your house about an ongoing issue?

neighbour dispute - can you sell a house?

Help! My nuisance neighbours are hampering my house sale

Most people dream of living in a friendly, caring neighbourhood. Sadly, for around 14 percent of Brits, that’s not the case.

Noisy or nuisance neighbours may not just make your life a misery, they can also impact your ability to move.

Whether it’s anti-social behaviour or arguments about boundaries, a neighbour dispute definitely has the potential to hamper a house sale.

What is classed as a dispute with neighbours?

A neighbour dispute is any disagreement between neighbours that is a cause of stress or friction.

When you sell a property, you will need to provide information on any existing neighbour disputes. You will also need to tell your buyer about anything you’re aware of that could cause a future neighbour dispute.

Do you have to declare neighbour disputes when selling property?

The short answer is yes. Declaring neighbour disputes is a legal requirement when selling a house. If you fail to declare neighbour disputes, you buyer could accuse you of mis-selling your property and take legal action against you.

Seller’s property information form

Neighbour disputes should be disclosed as part of the sellers’ property information form (also known as a TA6 form).

The form is designed to provide your buyer with a range of information about the property. It will ask you about things like the property’s boundaries, any building work that’s been carried out and any notices or planning proposals that you’re aware of that might impact the property. You will also be required to disclose information about any disputes or complaints relating to the property you’re selling.

How to resolve neighbour disputes

Resolving disputes with neighbours can be challenging, so it’s important to address any issues between you and your neighbour as soon as possible.

When neighbour disputes escalate, they have serious consequences. It’s always better to nip it in the bud if you can. One of those consequences can be difficulty selling your property.

Begin by approaching your neighbour in a friendly and open manner to discuss the issue at hand. Try to reach a compromise that will work for both parties without leaving an ongoing bad feeling.

How to deal with neighbour disputes if they can’t be resolved amicably

If you’re unable to resolve the dispute by talking to your neighbour, there are steps you should follow.

  1. If your neighbour’s property is rented, you can approach your neighbour’s landlord and request their assistance in resolving the conflict.
  2. Write a letter to your neighbour outlining what you see to be the issue and asking for their support in trying to meet a mutual acceptable solution.
  3. If you still don’t feel the issue is resolved, you may wish to write to your neighbour and ask for their willingness to participate in mediation services to help find a resolution.
  4. If your neighbour is unwilling to participate in mediation or mediation is unsuccessful, and the dispute qualifies as a statutory nuisance, your next step would be to contact your local council about the issue. You can also contact Citizen’s Advice Bureau for help with how to handle a neighbour dispute.
  5. If the dispute involves any behaviour that is against the law, eg. violence or harassment, you should contact the police.
  6. If all of the appropriate previous steps are unsuccessful, you can take legal action through the courts as a last resort. Taking someone to court can be very expensive, so it is important that you exhaust all other options before taking this route.

Legal advice for neighbour disputes

If you are experiencing a severe neighbour dispute that you’re struggling to navigate yourself, you may want to consider seeking legal advice. Most solicitors will be able to advise on your legal rights and responsibilities surrounding neighbour disputes and be able to offer options for next steps.

RICS neighbour disputes service and neighbour dispute mediation

Alternatively, if you’re keen to resolve your neighbour dispute without taking legal action, but feel you need additional support, you may wish you consider exploring either the RICS neighbour disputes service or neighbour dispute mediation through the Civil Mediation Council.

Neighbour dispute letter template

If you feel the next step is to send your neighbour a formal letter and need some help, Law Assistance offers a range of neighbour dispute letter templates that can be tailored to your specific circumstances.

Property dispute examples

Here are some examples of the most common neighbour disputes:

Noise disputes between neighbours

    Neighbour noise disputes are very common. Late night parties, loud music, noisy pets and rowdy children are all common noise complaints.

    Boundary disputes and fence disputes between neighbours

      Whether it’s the location of the boundary or who owns the fence, boundary and fence disputes are often a root cause of some of the most long-lasting neighbour disputes.

      Party wall neighbour disputes

        A party wall dispute occurs when one neighbour wants to build up to the property boundary, but the other disagrees. In this circumstance, a party wall surveyor will be appointed to represent each party and make a decision on the case.

        Neighbour disputes over parking

          Parking neighbour disputes can often be some of the most impassioned disagreements. With many parking disputes stemming from unofficial parking spaces that a resident has claimed as their own, parking disputes can be particularly challenging to resolve.

          Disputes with neighbours over building work

            Building work can be a particularly contentious issue and can cause a lot of bad feeling. The best tip to avoid disputes over building work is to be as courteous as you can. Pre-warning your neighbours about any upcoming building work and asking them to come and speak to you if any issues arise is a great way to open communication before the work even starts. It will ensure they feel comfortable approaching you with any issues, rather than letting any resentment fester.

            Garden disputes with neighbours

              Invasion of privacy is a big cause of garden disputes. The height of fences and being overlooked are issues routinely quoted in garden disputes with neighbours.

              The smoking of drugs in gardens can also be a cause of upset between neighbours.

              Verbal abuse or intimidation

                Verbal abuse or intimidation can become an issue when a neighbour dispute escalates. If you’re experiencing verbal abuse or intimidation, your neighbour may be breaking the law. It is advisable to keep a note of any incidents of abuse or intimidation and speak to your local community policing team.

                Can I sell my house if I have an ongoing neighbourly dispute?

                You may still be able to sell your house if you have an ongoing neighbourly dispute, but it’s likely to be considerably more challenging. Many would-be buyers will be cautious of taking on a property involved in a dispute. Anything that reduces the number of people interested in your property will result in a lower sale price and potentially difficulty finding a buyer at all.

                The nature of your neighbour dispute will also have an impact on how easily you’re able to sell. A more subjective issue, such as your neighbour playing loud music, should have less of an impact than an ongoing dispute around property boundaries.

                Boundary issues, in particular, can make the legal aspect of selling a property incredibly challenging. For this reason, it is advisable to try to resolve any disputes as best you can before putting your property on the market.

                It is always advisable to be open and honest about any neighbour disputes when selling a house. If your buyer finds out about a dispute for the first time when you submit the seller’s property information form, it may lead to your property sale falling through. This will cost you both time and money.

                How to find out about a neighbour dispute at your next property?

                72 percent of Brits say good neighbours and a strong community are an important factor in choosing their next property, so how can you find out about any neighbour disputes at a property you’re interested in buying?

                Unfortunately, it’s very challenging to find out about neighbour disputes before you make an offer on a property. You can ask the estate agent selling the property about the neighbours – if they are aware of any issues, they would be required to disclose it. However, this will only help you if the property seller has been honest with the estate agent. The only official way to find out about neighbour disputes is during the purchase process, when you receive the seller’s property information form.

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