12 Dec 19 by Kate Gordon
Do You Have To Declare Neighbour Disputes? What You Need To Know
There are a lot of things that go into trying to sell your home. Not many people realise this until they go through the home selling process themselves.
Understandably, a potential buyer of your house would want to know certain details about not only the home but the neighbourhood as well. They want to ensure the property is safe for their family.
If you’ve had a previous confrontation with a neighbour, you may be wondering do you have to declare neighbour disputes?
The answer has a lot of depth to it. Here is everything you need to know about declaring such things as a previous dispute with your neighbour.
Seller’s Property Information Form
It can be tricky to understand which things need to be reported when you’re attempting to sell your home.
While potential buyers have a right to be aware of any previous disputes, you also have a right to privacy (to an extent). Because of that, it’s hard to know what falls in which category.
One thing that’s definite is that if any law enforcement officials have had to get involved with a previous argument, you have to declare the dispute.
Those that want to purchase your home should be made aware of any unethical or disturbing neighbours in the area.
If this has been a problem you’ve had the displeasure of dealing with, then you’ll need to list it on a document known as the Seller’s Property Information Form. The SPIF is essential, regardless of whether your property is residential or commercial.
While that may sound a bit overwhelming, the form itself is very well laid out and direct.
It covers things such as boundaries information, disputes and complaints, notices, guarantees, previous services, joint repairs between you and your neighbours, etc.
The disputes portion only has two questions on it: 1) if you know of any previous disputes among surrounding neighbours, and 2) if you’ve ever received a complaint. If the answer is “yes” on either, you’ll be required to fill out details.
What Needs To Be Declared?
Unfortunately, “dispute” is a very relative term. Depending on the person you ask, they could view something like you and your neighbour refusing to mow the area between your two properties as a “dispute”. Even if neither side became frustrated.
Neighbourly matters are a fickle thing. That’s why it’s important to list out as much as you possibly can. You wouldn’t want anything rearing its ugly head a few years down the line.
Many home sellers believe that if they can get through finalising the sale on their home without a previous dispute popping up, they’re in the clear. That couldn’t be more false.
The buyer has the right to take action on any unlisted disputes for several years after the sale goes through.
What Doesn’t Need To Be Declared?
In short: any dispute that has been resolved without an official getting involved. However, this can take place in different scenarios.
Maybe you and your neighbour had an issue, such as your fence being a few inches into their property. But you two eventually agreed on a resolution.
Perhaps your neighbour used to have a terrible habit of leaving rubbish in their garden which would eventually blow into yours. But that was years ago and is no longer an issue after you made them aware of it.
In both scenarios, there was once a confrontation but a solution was reached and it won’t be an issue for the next owner of your home. Therefore, you are not required to list them.
Obviously, not all situations are black and white. There are some scenarios that will be a grey area for whether or not they should be declared. Ask your trusted property consultant what they would advise if you’re in doubt.
Guidelines For The SPIF
Now that you’re aware of the Seller’s Property Information Form, there are just a few other points to drive home (no pun intended).
Be sure to fill out the form as much as you possibly can, and with as much detail as you can offer.
There are certain situations in which you do not have to completely fill it out. However, doing so may scare certain prospective homebuyers (and their solicitors) away. Filling it out entirely will give the impression that you’re being as transparent as possible.
Do not attempt to lie or cover up the truth under any circumstance, it can come back to haunt you later on.
You may also feel as if answering the questions on the form generically would be advantageous for you. However, doing so comes off as if you’re avoiding key information on the dispute. If the buyer finds that information elsewhere later on, you’re in trouble.
This process is only as complicated as you make it out to be. If you’re as honest and direct as possible with previous neighbour disputes, then you have nothing to worry about!
Do You Have To Declare Neighbour Disputes? Be Honest and Upfront
As you’ve undoubtedly seen by reading this article, it’s best to be as clear and concise as possible with any previous neighbour disputes.
If you’re still wondering “do you have to declare neighbour disputes?” then work with your property consultant and see what they recommend.
Be sure to read this article on our growing dispute resolution service and how it can help you. It’s never too late to resolve an ongoing dispute with your neighbour before selling.
For more enquiries, please reach out via our contact us page and we’ll be happy to assist you further.