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Alice H
Alice H, Solicitor/Partner
Category: Law
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Experience:  Partner in national law firm
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The back boundary of our garden is adjacent to a Working Mens

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The back boundary of our garden is adjacent to a Working Men's Club. Since the smoking ban, there has been an increasing problem of noise from customers using the smoking shelters and the tables and benches installed very close to our property. We have spoken to the management in the past and nothing has ever changed as a result. It seems that peaceful coexistence means the WMC customers making as much noise as they like and us putting up with it. We want to be reasonable neighbours but this should be reciprocal. We are aware that we can involve the local authority but anxious that a formal complaint might affect the saleability of our property in the future. I would be very grateful for your advice. Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX
My name isXXXXX and I'm happy to help with your question today.

The law regulating some aspects of the conduct of your neighbour is dealt with through the action of 'private nuisance'.

Nuisance has been described as 'an unlawful interference with a persons use or enjoyment of land, or some other right over, or in connection with it.'

Therefore, noise, smoking near your boundary and general disturbance can be nuisance but there has to be an element of an 'unreasonable' use by your neighbour.

Unreasonableness would include disturbances late at night, litter, excessive noise when leaving etc.

If you can establish private nuisance then you coukd sue your neighbour damages and obtain an injunction. This is obviously costly and would not be conducive to a good relationship.

The alternative is to lodge a formal complaint with the council who could take action under thr Environmental Health Act 1990. This could include having an informal discussion with yofur neihbour, serving a notice to cease the behaviour mentioned or court action.

These are in reality your options. The only other thing is to do nothing but the behaviour would, of course, continue.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank you Alex. Do you have any comment about how the lodging of a formal complaint to the council might affect the saleability of our property in the future?
No problem.

There is a helpful article in a conveyancing newsletter which I received recently. I have copied it for you below:

Duty to Disclose
In conveyancing transactions, the seller of a property has a duty to disclose any previous or existing disputes with the owners of neighbouring properties to the buyer. The seller will be sent Sellers Property Information Form (SPIF) early on in the process. This form requires the seller to provide information about many different aspects of the property. Section two of the SPIF asks whether there have ever been any disputes with neighbours about issues such as planning consent, loud music, boundaries, or parking, and whether any complaints have been made either by or against the sellers. As a seller, it is important to declare any issue that has ever occurred with the neighbours, no matter if it has been resolved or seems trivial. The buyer has a right to know. The SPIF also requires sellers to provide further information if they know of any issues that may lead to disputes in the future.

Resolving Disputes
There are several common occurrences that lead to disputes between neighbours. These include excessive noise making, boundaries, parking, shared access to a property, and overhanging trees. If any of these matters is a point of contention between the seller and their neighbours, the buyer needs to know about this. It could affect their decision to buy the property or the price that they are willing to pay. In order to avoid losing a sale or having to renegotiate on price, it is best to try to solve any outstanding issues with neighbours before putting a property up for sale. Resolved disputed are much less likely to be an issue for buyers.

In short you have a duty to disclose neighbour "disputes" - so either: do not get involved in a complaint situation if you are planning to sell soon OR better still try and resolve the issue with the club as quickly as possible.

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