In the latest FDR Law Legal Clinic, Zoe Olender, Conveyancing Solicitor discuses Noisy Neighbours
Q: Do I have to reveal noisy neighbours if I sell my home?
A: Yes. When selling, you have to complete a Property Information Form which asks for details of any disputes or complaints regarding your property or a property nearby. This includes any notices or correspondence received or sent from or to a neighbour, council or government department, or whether any negotiations or discussions have taken place which affects the property or a property nearby.
This form is part of the contract documentation and the buyer relies on the details provided. Providing incorrect or incomplete information is classed as a misrepresentation and the buyer can refuse to complete the purchase. This would entitle them, if contracts have been exchanged, to have a deposit returned and, if completion has taken place, in addition to the return of the deposit, they would also be eligible to make a compensation claim against you.
If the truth is revealed after contracts have been exchanged the consequences could be horrific. For example, if you are in a chain and your buyer pulls out because you have not told the truth then you may not be able to proceed with the purchase of your new property, as you will not have the money from your sale to enable you to do so.
This would not be your sellers fault and so, if you have exchanged contracts for your purchase, the seller is entitled to keep your ten per cent deposit, or sue you for this. In addition they can bring a claim against you for any other losses that they suffer as a result of your breach e.g. their ten per cent deposit on a related purchase. If your sellers decide to complete their purchase with the assistance of bridging finance, then you may be liable for the cost of this.
What constitutes ‘noisy neighbours’ could be a matter of opinion, and a one off incident rather than a regular or continuing occurrence. We would always advise that it is better to be safe than sorry and when completing your Property Information Form honesty is definitely the best policy.