An ongoing property dispute can make a homeowner keen to sell up and move on. After all, who wants to do battle daily with their neighbours? But how easy is it to find a buyer for such a property?
It may be tempting to keep quiet about disputes over boundary lines or trees that encroach onto a neighbour’s property, but sellers are legally obligated to disclose certain information about their homes to potential buyers.
This guide provides an overview of the different types of property dispute, the information a seller must declare to a buyer and how to improve the chances of securing a sale.
What Is a Property Dispute?
There are a wide range of potential property disputes that could arise, but the most common are disagreements between neighbours about boundary lines and conflicting lifestyles. Examples include:
- Noisy neighbours — those that regularly play very loud music at unsocial hours, frequently have shouting matches and generally disturb the neighbourhood.
- Overgrown trees and vegetation encroaching on a neighbouring property — for example, a large tree that is blocking the light into, or the view from, your garden.
- “Shared” items in need of repair — if a fence or step falls on or near the shared boundary line between two properties and both households use it, disagreement may arise about who should pay for essential repairs.
- An urgent need to access a neighbour’s land — a dispute can occur if a leak or other such problem arises on your property that requires access to a neighbouring property to fix it and the neighbour refuses access.
This is not an exhaustive list, and any type of property dispute can make selling a challenge. But don’t despair, selling a house with a property dispute is far from impossible.
What Information Do I Have to Disclose to a Buyer?
There is an onus on the buyer to do their due diligence and ensure that any property they commit to buying meets their needs and expectations — this is known as “Caveat Emptor” or “buyer beware”. However, a seller must give the buyer certain information, especially that which the buyer could not learn by any other means — a disagreement with a neighbour is unlikely to be detailed in the survey or title deeds!
Sellers are generally required to complete a TA6 Property Information form to give the prospective buyer detailed information about the property. This is not strictly compulsory, but many solicitors will insist on it, and failure to complete the form is likely to set alarm bells ringing for the buyer. In 2020, the information a seller is required to disclose was extended to include information about boundaries and details of any disputes with neighbours.
If you’re keen to sell a house with a property dispute, follow the recommended procedures. Hiding problems is likely to backfire when the truth is discovered. If you’re honest from the start, issues can be addressed and resolved to the buyer’s satisfaction. If the buyer finds out you’ve concealed important information, you’re more likely to lose the sale.
How to Improve Your Chances of Selling
In addition to being upfront and honest about any property disputes, there are a few things you can do to improve your chances of selling.
- Seek expert advice — a solicitor or conveyancer will be able to advise you on how best to handle the dispute to secure a sale while ensuring that your actions stay within the law.
- Complete the TA6 form honestly — as previously mentioned, concealing disputes, or worse, misleading a buyer about the nature or extent of a dispute is risky, potentially illegal and more likely to lead to a failed sale.
- Resolve the dispute — this may seem like a no-brainer, but if a property dispute has been ongoing for years, resolving it is easier said than done. However, once you’ve decided to move, you may be in a position to take a more objective stance. There are dispute resolution services that can help by acting as an intermediary between you and your neighbour.
- Use a cash buying service — a reputable house buying company will have the funds ready to buy your home fast. Unlike a traditional buyer, cash buying companies purchase properties in any condition or location. There’s no need for endless viewings and zero risk of getting stuck in a problem property chain.
- Check the title deeds — it’s worth asking your solicitor to double-check the property deeds to ensure that you own what you think you own! The buyer’s solicitor will check this as part of the purchase process, but doing your own research early on will avoid any nasty surprises and delays.
- Make your property stand out — complete any minor home improvements, ensure the property is well-presented and make the most of any unique or popular features such as a large garden or home office. Some buyers will be so bowled over by how impressive the property is that they will be willing to take on the property dispute.
How House Buyer Bureau Can Help
Regardless of the location and condition, we can sell your house fast. Whatever the history or ongoing disputes, we will make a fair offer on your property. There are no estate agent, solicitor or surveyor’s fees to pay, and you won’t have to endure endless viewings.
We actively work with groups like The Advisory to prove our credibility, and we work hard to maintain our five-star Feefo rating. You can sell to House Buyer Bureau with total peace of mind.