An empty house is better than a bad neighbour

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Do you have a bad neighbour? Does your bad neighbour impact on your family’s enjoyment of your home? What can you do if your neighbour is affecting your ability to sell?

Sadly, we don’t always have ‘good’ neighbours and it is an unfortunate fact of life that sometimes we find ourselves living in close proximity with neighbours that are particularly unpleasant.

If constant or excessive noise, anti-social behaviour or party wall issues are causing you undue stress, then you may decide it is time to sell and move on to pastures new. Unfortunately, these same problems could affect your ability to sell, but there are a few ways in which you can improve the likelihood of a solution.

One of the main issues between neighbours is excessive noise disturbance. This can take the form of late night parties, loud music, doors banging, etc. It can also be any type of excessive noise that prevents you from sleeping, or enjoying the peace and quiet of your home. If noise is the issue, check out your local council’s noise and disturbance guidelines. 

If you are intent on solving the problem either for yourself or to increase your chances of selling then the first course of action should be simply trying to communicate with your neighbours. Talking directly to your neighbour in a calm and positive manner can often help, as they may be unaware that they are causing an issue. It would be advisable to do this in a public place such as in the garden, if possible, rather than knocking on the door. Don’t accuse but rather suggest ways to solve the problem. You could also try to find a mediator.

If you feel that your neighbour is not open to seeking a resolution, or if they have exhibited any acts of anti-social behaviour with the intention of disturbing or intimidating you as a situation escalates, then the local council is the next option. The council will have an anti-social behavioural team which can assist or, failing that, your local police will be able to advise on what you can do next. 

If you cannot find a happy resolution between the two parties, beware any heated arguments over the garden fence or in the street, or the opinion of other neighbours that you are not happy living there due to the problems you have encountered. This could well result in a detrimental effect on your ability to sell your property and consequently affect its value.

The most common issues that arise between neighbours are:

Shouting or excessive noise;
Littering or dumping of rubbish;
Misuse of fireworks;
Using rude, abusive or insulting language;
Threatening or bullying;
Uncontrolled and/or dangerous dogs;
Excessive drinking of alcohol and the buying/selling of illegal substances in the street.

If the issue concerns the boundary between your adjoining properties, try walking the property line together to determine what belongs to whom. If problems persist, consult a Chartered Surveyor who will be able to assist.

It is wise to note that if gentle discussions between both parties amount to nothing, then it is simply not worth putting yourself at risk by getting caught up in an argument.

Had enough and want to sell?

When you come to sell your property and you have experienced problems with difficult neighbours, you are required to disclose any disagreements. You must disclose all matters, regardless of how big or small the issues are, so try and sort the problem out, if at all possible.

If all else fails it may be time to consider moving on, so you can enjoy your home life more freely. In any case, a Chartered Building Surveyor can help you with home buyers surveys, structural issues, party wall / boundary disputes, and many other property-related issues.