A Wakefield-based lawyer is warning that arguments with your neighbour could cause problems when it’s time to sell your home and knock thousands off the sale price.
Newport Land and Law advise that following a full year of getting to know our neighbours better than ever before during multiple lockdowns, record numbers of people are now contacting lawyers about neighbour disputes. Law firms are experiencing big increases in enquiries about boundary disputes, while councils up and down the country have reported significant rises in noise complaints.
At the height of the first lockdown, Leeds City Council recorded almost 400 more noise reports per month than in the previous year. Whether due to kitchen discos, lively garden gatherings or endless lockdown DIY, it’s clear many of us are running out of patience.
Spats between neighbours can be very tricky to resolve. In some cases, people may consider selling their homes and moving. However, many people don’t realise that this kind of dispute could get in the way of a sale.
Anna Newport, director of Newport Land and Law, said: “Although it may feel like your neighbour’s bad behaviour is ruining your life, the real danger of neighbour disputes is the long shadow they can cast over a potential sale. It might be tempting to keep quiet about any issues you’ve had in the past, but this could come back to bite you when your buyer finds out the truth.
“Whether the quarrel is over noise levels, an overgrown leylandii or the placement of wheelie bin, if you’ve been involved in a neighbour dispute, you’re likely to need to declare it during the conveyancing process. Whether or not you need to spill the beans will depend on your individual situation. As a general rule, if you’ve had to involve a third party such as the police, the council or a professional mediator, you will be legally obliged to tell your buyers about it.”
If a neighbour dispute does emerge during the sales process, your buyer will want to assess the issue and decide what to do next. They may be happy to go ahead regardless, they may want to pull out of the sale, or they may feel the dispute is grounds for a discount on the purchase price.
The good news is that problem neighbours don’t necessarily mean you won’t be able to sell your house. If you find yourself in a situation like this, the best thing to do is find an experienced solicitor and be completely honest about your situation. They’ll be able to advise you on the best way to manage to sell your home.