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NFH - now we can't sell our house

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  • NFH - now we can't sell our house

    Our NFH own the freehold of the shared right of way that is the only pedestrian and vehicle access to our property. It crosses their rear courtyard which adjoins our rear courtyard.

    In July our buyers pulled out (on the day before exchange of contracts) after a colleague told them about the NFH’s reputation in the town where they lived until 4 years ago, which included trouble with the police.

    We had talked with these buyers about the problems we’d had with the NFH, mostly this was screaming and swearing at us and then at our 6 year old child as well. At my wife’s suggestion we had been bending over backwards to get on with them but after they upset our child so much I refused to even speak to them any more.

    We went to the local neighbour arbitration scheme and were interviewed but the NFH refused to see any arbitrator.

    18 months ago it culminated in police verbal cautions against the two NFH not to harass us, also a verbal caution to me as they claimed I had hit one of them. I hadn’t yet still spent most of the day in jail while the police took statements and the NFH sat at home. The caution doesn’t stop me coming and going but has stopped the NFH harassment apart from initial dog sh** throwing by one of the children and persistent flashing torches or mirrored sunlight at us through our windows by another.

    Our buyers were happy that they could get along but obviously reconsidered after finding the NFH had a previous reputation as well.

    We still completed on the purchase of our new property in Scotland where an accepted offer is effectively binding.

    Although the market has been slow 60+ interested parties have viewed our property. Although the deeds are clear that the right of way is for access at all times for all purposes and must not be blocked by parking etc., many potential buyers were put off as soon as problems with neighbours are mentioned.

    We have an accepted offer at the moment, but are not sure how much information must be included on the Seller's Property Information Form and how best to phrase things to have any chance of selling. The buyers were shown round by our estate agent so we haven’t discussed neighbours with them. Is it best to paint ourselves as (part of) the problem, which is probably the way the NFH sees it, as the buyer won’t be as bothered by a problem that is leaving.

    The NFH have now bought a new home and have their house on the market so we will include this on the form.

    If the sale falls through again because of NFH what should we do – give up and take our house off the market?

    It’s quite possible that if they declare the police incident, on their Seller's Property Information Form with me as the NFH, then they won’t sell either. I very much doubt that they will declare any neighbour disputes. As they are the problem, there wouldn’t be any incidents after they’d gone and so they wouldn’t be liable to pay any compensation to their buyer.

    If they do declare are we both stuck here forever?

    Do I have just hope they don’t declare and wait for them to go before trying to sell. Their house is priced high and there has been little interest so far so we could have a long wait.

    The eventual result of the Seller's Property Information Form declaration is that victims of NFH will just not dare report problems in case they ever want to move. Victims will just have to quietly put up until they can move – another case of the law acting to protect the criminal.

  • #2

    Hi there. Id say that IF the NFH is moving as well and has sold their house then really its a question of saying on the SPIF that there was a dispute but as that NFH has moved/imminently about to move that the matter is resolved.

    I think you have to make it very clear that the dispute is a personality thing rather than it actually relating to the shared access. noone will want to buy a house if they cannot fully access their property, so make it clear this is not the problem.

    the police caution is to do with their behaviour towards you but so long as they do move, then the problem is removed.

    dont give up. and you should be able to get advice on how to word things from your solicitor, at the end of the day that is what they get paid for.

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    • #3
      Hi PP and welcome to NFHiB

      My view is pretty much the same as Annabels.

      Please check out the NFHiB topic about the SPIF here.

      But, do discuss what to disclose with your conveyancer.

      If there is simply a clash of personalities, then say it. If there has ever been a dispute over rights of access then I think you would have to declare it.

      My opinion, for what it's worth : I would make the most of the fact that they are also selling and that any disputes were about your personalities (not the property), i.e. the problem disappears when either you or your neighbour disappears.

      But, we aren't experts here, so please do seek your own independent legal advice from your conveyancer.

      Good luck with it and please keep us posted with how you're getting on.



      • #4
        Thanks for quick replies as we are preparing a declaration at the moment.

        I'd already seen the SPIF topic thanks hollygolightly, it was useful to have confirmed what we thought we'd already heard something about.

        The right of way was never in dispute.

        NFH did leave dog muck for weeks but we didn't complain about that but did politely ask them to remove their dog muck from our courtyard (the two courtyards were then open). Though we often watched shi*e coming out of there dog in front of our kitchen window they always maintained that some other dog had done it, and blamed us for letting other dogs in off the street. Sometimes they would bring two shovels full of different shape/colour shi*e to our door saying that the one from our courtyard didn't match the other from theirs - so it wasn’t their dog doing it!

        We don't have a dog but like most dogs including their first one. The previous neighbours had an elderly dog with frequent bouts of diorreah and we would frequently shift this when they were away on business all part of give & take between good neighbours.

        After NFH got a second dog, that nips your ankles, we installed an electric sliding gate between the courtyards ( this was expensive but the only solution that would fit the restricted space). We preferred the open courtyard arrangement but were forced into getting a gate.

        Before installation we explained to NFH that as the only way of getting, even a small car, in and out their courtyard involves reversing onto our land to turn. Forcing us to install a gate would prevent this (it’s not a right of way onto our land but we would have allowed it). NFH didn’t care, but are now probably regretting this as people interested in their property all want to get a car in and NFH have even asked us if they can have a remote for our gate!

        Thanks Annabel & hollygolightly for comments & suggestions, it’s useful to hear how others see a problem. We have already talked to our conveyancing solicitor and may take a couple of alternative wordings to her.

        One annoying thing is that 18 months ago, at the time of the police incident, another solicitor we saw at the same office said, as the incident had been a personal dispute, it need not go on the SPIF.


        • #5
          Hi Peterpiper

          Good luck with the SPIF, and let us know how you word it in the end.

          If the dispute is just personal, I'm still not sure about declaring it, as the SPIF is a little ambiguous in asking "have you received any complaints about anything you have done as owners?" which is open to interpretation (other members may have differing opinions).

          Have you spoken with your current conveyancer about this? If they are saying that you don't have to declare anything, then get them to put it in writing, and it's no longer your problem.

          BTW, you sound as if you've been more than patient with your neighbour. If one of my neighbours came knocking on my front door with two shovel's full, they'd get more than a piece of my mind 8-X :sicky:

          Blue Cow


          • #6
            Hi Peterpiper

            I've come late to your thread but I can see that other members have given you lots of good advice so all that's left for me to say is, Good Luck Hope everything turns out ok for you

            "Almost anything you do will seem insignificant, but it is very important that you do it. You must be the change that you wish to see in the world." Gandhi


            • #7
              It is really difficult, I think, knowing what to do for the best in situations like this.

              I know when we sold our house some years ago, we ummed and ahhed about what to put on the SPIF. In the end we left it blank. We decided that anyone moving into our home wouldn't have the same issue with a distant neighbour - the problem was with the NFH and directed at us personally.

              Just make sure you're covered .


              • #8
                An additional question:

                Does anyone have experience, either from the sellers or buyers point of view, of the property purchasers reaction when the SPIF revealed any neighbour disputes.

                I guess there must now be many sales where flooding is declared. At least we live on top of a hill.


                • #9
                  If I saw a dispute disclosed on the SPIF I'd want to run a mile.

                  However, if I loved the property, I'd try and carry out as many investigations as I could to find out more about it all. Plus, I'd appreciate the fact that the vendors had been honest enough to put the information down - that would make me think they were being very open about the situation and make me trust what they were saying.


                  • #10
                    Hi Peterpiper

                    Just wanted to wish you luck with it all :clover:

                    Please let us know how you get on, and what you do decide to do