“Love Thy Neighbour ?”
Really ? How well do you get on with your neighbours ? Our Dispute Resolution team gets involved in so many property disputes between sellers/buyers and also neighbours over a whole range of problems.
When we buy a property, we rely on the Sellers’ Property Information form to tell us whether there have ever been any neighbour or boundary disputes – the answer is usually “No” – because you know that “Yes” would be the kiss of death to the sale! The boundaries are also identified – left or right of the property.
One good tip when buying a house is to go back at various times and check out the surrounding area – including the evenings, after dark on a Friday or Saturday night, just to see what the noise level is like, particularly from the house next door.
So far, so good.
The problem arises, though, when you move in or you yourself get new neighbours and they start with the all-night parties – (housewarming – ok – you let that one go – but then the loud music carries on each week!) – or they decide to build a large extension (sometimes on the party wall) and have to move the boundary fence for that and replace the old fence……but a couple of feet over – or they let the leylandii shoot up like triffids – any of this starting to sound familiar ?
Clearly these examples (not exhaustive) sound extreme but they can cause no end of stress and at the worst, can ruin lives – because, when it’s your home, there is no escape.
If you do have neighbour issues, firstly, check your household insurance policies for the words “Legal Expense Insurance” (e.g. via ARAG). These policies often cover neighbour/ boundary disputes, so that would be your first port of call, to their helpline. If they think you need legal advice from a specialist firm of solicitors, they may refer it to someone like Curwens solicitors, the cost of which is covered by your policy as long as it’s a viable claim (and you follow our advice!).
For further advice, call 0208 363 444 and ask for Adrian Boulter, property dispute expert.