What you need to tell a buyer regarding neighbours?
Jasper from Leicester
Conveyancing questions and answers
I’m in the process of selling my house and would like to know what I need to tell my buyers regarding the neighbours? They aren’t the reason we’re moving and we’ve never had any major disputes or fallouts but they occasionally do things that have caused arguments, such as telling their guests to park in my driveway and playing loud music late at night. I’ve recently read that sellers are now required to mention even minor disputes with neighbours, so would I need to disclose this information to my buyers?
You should be very careful when completing the protocol forms that you do not withhold any information that could, following completion, if the buyers had been aware of, be seen as a misrepresentation. I appreciate that you don’t wish to not put your buyers off but yes you should disclose the full circumstances on the sellers property information form. Sales have been overturned on grounds of misrepresentation in some cases.
It is important to mention anything that may affect the buyer’s decision to continue with the purchase of the property, including information about things that may have an impact on their enjoyment and the value of the property. This means that there is a requirement to disclose any problems with neighbours – even minor disputes and annoyances, as there is a section on the sellers property information form that asks about complaints about neighbours.
You will also have to mention if the sale of your property to another buyer has fallen through following a house survey and what the survey identified.
If you are not sure whether something is significant enough to be mentioned, you can ask your conveyancing solicitor for advice, however, if it is an issue that would affect your progression with a property purchase, you should probably disclose this to your buyers.
If a buyer is particularly concerned about an aspect of the property, they are likely to ask you specific question regarding their concern. Be careful to use phrases like, ‘not as far as I am aware’ to avoid providing an honest answer about something you wish for your buyers not to know, as they will ensure they receive a satisfactory answer through other enquiries and this would reduce the level of trust between you and the buyer.
Should you say anything that is incorrect, you could be liable for damages through committing misrepresentation. This could range from the buyer making a claim or the sale could be ‘undone’ and you would have to buy back the property.
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Hannah, 09 April 2017