Couple sue property’s previous owner for not warning about next-door neighbour from hell in landmark legal battle

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A COUPLE forced to flee their new home by a next-door neighbour from hell days after moving in have launched a landmark legal battle to sue the seller.

First-time buyers Jason Stevens, 27, and Michelle Smith, 25, were thrilled when they landed a dream flat for themselves and their baby in leafy Surrey 2017.

Jason Stevens, 27, and Michelle Smith, 25, are suing their home's previous owner as he didn't warn them about a neighbour from hell
Champion News Service Ltd

Jason Stevens, 27, and Michelle Smith, 25, are suing their home’s previous owner as he didn’t warn them about a neighbour from hell[/caption]

The couple claim vendor Christopher Flynn sold them the £250,000 two-bed property without telling them a violent troublemaker lived next door
Champion News Service Ltd

The couple claim vendor Christopher Flynn sold them the £250,000 two-bed property without telling them a violent troublemaker lived next door[/caption]

But the couple claim vendor Christopher Flynn sold them the £250,000 two-bed property without telling them a violent troublemaker lived next door.

And during their very first first weekend there, they were subjected to a “violent outburst” which caused hundreds of pounds worth of damage to their door, court papers reveal.

Jason and Michelle called police who advised them it was unsafe for them to live with their young son next to aggressive Peter Passingham, they claim.

The couple went on to sue Mr Flynn, claiming thousands in compensation in a case which could affect law governing property sales across the UK.

They insist he “knew the aggressive/violent tendencies of his neighbour”, but failed to disclose it in pre-sale documents.

They also claim that Mr Flynn had taken out a restraining order to “protect himself” from the man next door, before selling the flat to the unsuspecting young family.

NEIGHBOUR FROM HELL

But lawyers for Mr Flynn deny he acted dishonestly and say the neighbour’s behaviour was not his responsibility after he moved out.

The court heard that Mr Stevens and Ms Smith excitedly completed their purchase of the flat in High Trees, Epsom Road, in June 2017.

But their first home dream turned to a nightmare when confronted by neighbour Mr Passingham soon after they arrived, lawyers for the couple say in court documents.

They claim: “On the first weekend after completion whilst Ms Smith and Mr Stevens were in the property preparing for redecoration, Mr Stevens, his stepfather and mother were subjected to a violent outburst by Mr Passingham.

“The police attended the scene and the general advice given to the couple, in the light of having an infant son, was not to live in the property until it was safe to do so.”

The couple claim thousands in compensation for distress and inconvenience, repair of their door, and costs related to accommodation and mortgage payments while they say they were unable to live there.

FORCED TO FLEE

The vendor, Mr Flynn, had declared on pre-sale paperwork that he had “not complained or had cause to complain” about any neighbour, the couple’s lawyers claim.

They claimed: “He represented to the buyers that there were no disputes or neighbour disputes of concern..

“In actual fact, there were disputes involving Mr Flynn’s direct neighbour at no 24 High Trees, Mr Passingham.

“Mr Passingham was a violent, aggressive neighbour, who had subjected Mr Flynn and the neighbourhood to incidents of antisocial behaviour and/or violence or aggression.

“Mr Flynn, to protect himself from his neighbour, had applied for and obtained a restraining order in or around March 2017.

“He went to lengths to falsely complete the property forms denying all existence of the issues with Mr Passingham.”

They added that the couple are not trying to undo the sale contract, because Mr Passingham has since been evicted.

Mr Passingham is not a party to the court claim and has not had a chance to respond to the allegations.


Mr Flynn’s lawyers said: “It is admitted that there was a dispute between Mr Flynn and his former neighbour, but that this was a dispute which had ended one year and a half prior to marketing the property.

“It is not accepted that Mr Flynn misrepresented the sale.”

The case was in court for a planned trial but adjourned after a short hearing.

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