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We bought a property (first floor maisonette) for our daughter

to live in 1 and...
We bought a property (first floor maisonette) for our daughter to live in 1 and a half years ago when she was going to uni and we specifically asked the estate agent if the neighbourhood was safe and if there were any problems with the neighbours beneath the property,they assured us it was a quiet are and there were no issues with the neighbours. The vendor answered the relevant legal questionnaire the same stating no problems.Since our daughter has moved in she has been harrassed on several occasions and friends visiting her have been threatened.The police have been called several times and the council have been informed.It would seem that both the police and the council have known about this particular family being problems for a long time.In fact way before my daughter moved in as an officer stopped my wife in her car today to question her as he thought she had been visiting the neighbours below and not my daughter.Two months ago the police raided the property below looking for drugs and had to force entry.My question is do we have a legal right to sue the vendor and or estate agent for not disclosing the type of neighbour as we would not have bought the property had we known.
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Answered in 13 minutes by:
10/20/2013
Alice H
Alice H, Solicitor/Partner
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 2,850
Experience: LLB (Hons) and 20 years legal experience
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My name isXXXXX and I am a Solicitor based in London. I'm happy to help with your question today.

You may have grounds to sue for misrepresentation. In a case called McMeekin v Long [2003] All ER (D) 124, a seller had to pay £67,500 in damages to a buyer for misrepresentation.

The sellers had said on the Seller’s Property Information Form that they did not know about any disputes and had not received any complaints about neighbours. When the buyers moved in they discovered that while the sellers had owned the property, they had been involved in disputes about access and rubbish dumping ie problem neighbours.

The sellers argued that the disputes had been resolved. However the judge ruled in favour of the buyers. He said the questions on the form were so simple to understand and the disputes so obvious, that it was "impossible to conclude other than that [the sellers] must have known that they were not being truthful when they answered those two questions"

So, in principle, your daughter could sue for breach of contract based on misrepresentation. Bear in mind, however, that she would have to prove that the problem with the neighbour existed when the Property Information Form was completed and the seller knew or must have known about it.
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

HI Alex thank you for responding so promptly.In your opinion would documented police visits and the fact that the tenants in question were already on the radar of the local authority for criminal and nuisance behaviour be evidence enough to back up our claim as from our conversations with the local police/council liaison officer this matter has been going on for many years,also could the vendor argue that because they personally did not have any issues that they did not have to disclose this.

The evidence from the police and council is crucial to prove that this problem has been going on for some time and the seller must have known about it.

The form asks the question whether there has been a problem or dispute "...at the property or a property nearby..."

If the problem neighbours have been known to the police for some time I think it would be implausible that the seller did not know about them. Thus the 'problem or dispute at the property or property nearby' should have been disclosed.

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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

Thank you just one more question ,is there a maximum time period to pursue legal action?

I hope the information was helpful. Please do remember to rate my answer so that I am credited for my time. Regards, Alex.
Alice H
Alice H, Solicitor/Partner
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 2,850
Experience: LLB (Hons) and 20 years legal experience
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

Thank you very much for your help Alex.

My pleasure. Thank you for your custom. Please do come back to me if you need any further help with this. Alex
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