If you’ve move to a new property and discovered that the seller lied about neighbours, do you have any recourse to the seller?
If a seller lied about neighbours there’s not much you can do, especially if it wasn’t reported to the authorities nor the police. But if you discover the bad behaviour was reported and they lied on the property information form, you may be able to claim damages under the misrepresentations act.
Please also read this article to discover how you could save £71,475 on your next mortgage if you sell your house and rent before buying again. Even I was amazed when I did the calculations! The strategies you learn in this article will not only save you money, but it will also reduce the stress of buying your next house.
What do you have to disclose about neighbours when selling a house?
Any neighbour disputes should be disclosed on the Seller’s Property Information Form (SPIF), which asks if the seller is aware of anything that might lead to a dispute about the property or a property nearby. It also asks if any notices or correspondence has been received or sent to or from a neighbour.
Can you sue seller for misrepresentation?
You can sue a seller for misrepresentation if there’s been fraudulent or negligent misrepresentation the seller knew about with a neighbour dispute, but deliberately hid it from the buyer including not disclosing it on the property information form when they should have.
It is possible that it was an innocent misrepresentation by the seller and they may not have been aware of the issue with neighbours. It may also have been an honest mistake or error, in which case it will be difficult to sue the seller in this case.
But it’s not easy to sue for misrepresentation and can be costly too and there’s no guarantee you will win against a seller, as often it is viewed by judges as “buyer beware”.
A case of misrepresentation relies on you proving that it was the seller’s intention to deceive you or that their failure to disclose an issue about neighbours was unreasonable.
In order to claim damages and sue a seller you need to prove you relied on their statements in the property information form when completed on the purchase.
If the seller made official complaints about neighbour issues but didn’t disclose these on the property information form, it will make it easier to prove their failure to disclose.
But your difficulty is to quantify damages in this case.
How to avoid problems if seller is lying about neighbours
If you don’t trust that a seller is not telling the truth on their Seller Property Information Form (SPIF), you should do your own due diligence.
The best way to find out about neighbour disputes is to speak with other neighbours on the street. If you find any problems in your research, it might be good to withdraw from buying the property. Make sure to include asking homeowners on the opposite side of the road too.
Almost half (47%) of Brits would keep any problems with their neighbours a secret to help increase their chances of selling their home.Boiler Plan – Uncovered: What would Brits not disclose when selling their home
With the above high statistic about how sellers will not admit to having problems with neighbours, I suggest you do your own enquiries about neighbours each side of the house you’re buying.
But also check with other homeowners on the street to make sure there are no known neighbour disputes. Include in your enquiries homeowners on the other side of the street too.
When does a dispute with neighbours need to be declared?
A dispute with neighbours must be declared on the SPIF if you’ve contacted a neighbour in writing or if you have complained to the council or another authority, like the police about the issue.
This includes boundary disputes, shared maintenance issues or any reported bad behaviour about neighbours.
If your solicitor asks you to provide details of any disputes or problem neighbours, any false information you provide or if you omit any information, this could lead to legal action being taken by buyers.
If you are in any doubt, speak with your solicitor and ask them if the neighbour’s behaviour you experienced or whether the problem you’ve had with neighbours needs to be declared.
Selling a property with bad neighbours
If you buy a property where the seller lied about neighbours and you find issues with them, before you complain to the authorities or the police you may want to consider selling the house before making a complaint.
This may be costly, as you won’t recover the buying costs of the current property. But if the seller hadn’t made an official complaint about the neighbours, you are unlikely to get far with suing for misrepresentation, as they will simply say they had no problems.
Final thoughts about seller lied about neighbours
It is possible the seller didn’t lie about neighbours when they completed the seller property information form, as they may not have had the same problems you are having with neighbours.
In one case in 2009, when Home Information Packs were still in force, one buyer was told by a seller that her potential new next door neighbour was ‘as quiet as a mouse’, and the HIPS declared that there had been no disputes with any of the neighbours. Unfortunately, this neighbour made her life ‘a living hell’ with loud swearing and banging on the walls during the night. The buyer sued the seller and accused her of telling lies on the HIPS form, but lost, despite the seller admitting the neighbour in question had threatened to kill her and thrown stones at her windows in the past.Problem Neighbours – What You Have to Declare About Neighbours When Selling
If your neighbours are unpleasant and you don’t want to sell, you could always rent the property to tenants and become a landlord.
The other option if things really get bad with getting hassled by a neighbour is to ask to be housed in a council house. You can also read this article too: Top Tricks To Get A Council House Quicker if you decide to try this solution.
But in the end, if you think the seller misrepresented the property you bought, you might be able to make a damages claim against them. You should speak with an experienced property law solicitor to confirm if you have a case or not.
Please don’t forget to read this before you leave…
Please don’t forget to also read this article to discover how you could save £71,475 on your next mortgage if you sell your house and rent before buying again. As I said earlier, even I was amazed when I did the calculations! Learn about how you will reduce the stress of moving house, whilst at the same time potentially save thousands in the process!
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