Question: My wife and I have recently put our house on the market. Six months ago new people moved into the property next door and they are always playing really loud music late at night. We have asked them not to do this but they continue to do so. It really has become quite a problem now. Are we required to disclose the situation to prospective buyers? We do not want this to affect any future sale.
© Merrily Harpur (harpur.org)
Answer: In general on the sale of a house the "caveat emptor" or "buyer beware" principle applies. In practice this means that the buyer and the buyer’s solicitor are responsible for finding out as much as possible about the property.
If there are defects associated with the property that a buyer can see on a reasonable inspection, the seller is not required to disclose these. However, a possible neighbour dispute is not something that a buyer will necessarily see on inspection of the property and so should be disclosed.
When you agree a sale of the property you will be required to complete a Property Information Form (PIF) which will then be forwarded to your buyer’s solicitors by your solicitor. The PIF includes questions about whether there have been any disputes or complaints regarding the property or those nearby and whether the seller is aware of anything that could lead to a dispute or complaint.
It is very important that you complete the form accurately. If you do not, there is a risk you may be sued in the future by your buyers for misrepresentation.
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Fiona is a partner in the private client property practice of Thring Townsend Lee & Pembertons LLP. (ttuk.com)