According to recent research, almost half of the British population experiences disrupted sleep due to noise from outside their home. A quarter of us name our neighbours as the biggest cause of noise pollution, and one in six Britons have been forced to move house due to noisy neighbours.
But how easy is selling a house with noisy neighbours? Won’t they put potential buyers off and drive down the final sale price?
When Noise Becomes Unreasonable
People lead very different lives, and the chance of every neighbour in your street sharing the same musical preferences and sleep routines is highly unlikely. Unless you have the budget to live in a palatial detached pad miles from anyone else, a certain amount of tolerance and compromise is a reasonable expectation when it comes to living side-by-side with your neighbours.
However, when taken to extremes regularly, noise becomes a problem. One that you have the right to complain about.
Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, councils must follow up any complaints about noise that could be a “statutory nuisance”. Noise will fall into this definition and result in an “abatement notice” — an order to stop making the noise — if it:
- Unreasonably and substantially interferes with the use or enjoyment of a home or other premises.
- Injures health or is likely to injure health.
Excessive noise at any time of day may be deemed unacceptable, but a local council will be more likely to intervene and issue a warning if the disturbance is caused during “night hours” between 11 pm to 7 am.
If the person making the noise fails to comply with an abatement notice or warning, the council can prosecute, issue a penalty notice and a fine or remove any equipment that is making the noise such as loudspeakers.
Resolving the issue of noisy neighbours can be time-consuming. So what can you do if you need to sell before the council steps in? Or if the noisy neighbour is persisting with their actions despite council intervention?
Do I Have to Tell Potential Buyers about My Noisy Neighbours?
Any reputable solicitor will require their client to complete a TA6 Sellers Property Information Form. This form provides the buyer with detailed information about the house. As of 2020, sellers must disclose information about boundaries and details of any historic or current disputes with neighbours or any issues that could give rise to a dispute in the future.
Failure to disclose details of an existing or potential dispute could result in legal action or a financial compensation claim from your buyer.
Remember, that a type, level or frequency of noise that makes your life unpleasant may not have the same impact on a potential buyer. If your neighbour plays loud music late at night and your buyer works night shifts, they’re unlikely to be deterred from completing the sale. Likewise, if you can’t stand the loud barking of your neighbour’s dog, a buyer that has their own dogs may be less inclined to see this as a problem.
Be honest — as long as your buyer is fully informed at the point of purchase, there is unlikely to be a problem. Concealing a potential noise issue on the other hand could result in a lost sale, legal wrangles and arguments over financial compensation.
Will Noisy Neighbours Impact the Selling Price of My Property?
Possibly. The impact on the value of your property will depend on its location, the nature of the noise and whether any formal actions have been taken to address the issue.
If your home is in a property hotspot where demand far outstrips supply, you’re more likely to find buyers that are willing to pay the asking price despite noisy neighbours. If the noise is of a type, level and frequency that doesn’t bother your buyer, as mentioned above, the sale price shouldn’t be affected.
However, if you, a previous owner or another neighbour has taken formal action to stop the noise occurring, this could have a negative impact on the sale price as it suggests a serious and persistent problem.
What Are My Options When Selling a House with Noisy Neighbours?
- If your neighbours are deliberately sabotaging your house sale — by playing very loud music during viewings, for example — try to resolve the dispute amicably. If all else fails, you can pursue legal action and financial compensation (damages for lost sales). However, it is often extremely difficult to prove wrongdoing that breaks the law or that has directly cost you a sale. The process will also be lengthy and expensive.
- Be patient — the right buyer will appear eventually, even with the most inconsiderate and noisy neighbours. If you’re not in a rush to sell, wait it out.
- Reduce the asking price — this may be the only way to entice a buyer if viewings are being frequently disrupted by your noisy neighbours. Some people will accept a compromise if they think they’re getting a bargain.
- Take your neighbour to court — this is a stressful, time-consuming and expensive option, so it should be a last resort.
- Sell to a house buying service — you’ll still need to lay your cards on the table and be honest about the noise problem, but cash house buying companies purchase all types of property in any condition or location. There’s no need for endless viewings, and you can sell your house fast without paying estate agent fees.
If you’re struggling to sell a property because of noisy neighbours and you don’t have the time to wait for the right buyer to come along, get in touch with our team of house cash buyers today.