So, are you thinking of buying a home? Are you already a homeowner?
You may be thinking that it is your property and therefore you can develop and improve it as you please. Perhaps you can. Or perhaps there is a restrictive covenant attached to the land which prevents you from doing just that.
Think of a restrictive covenant as an agreement not to do something which, if breached, can result in legal action being brought against you. A restrictive covenant is added to a piece of land to help maintain the value of adjoining land, such as a restriction on a housing development not to do anything which may become a nuisance or annoyance to neighbouring properties.
The general rule seems to be, the newer the property the more restrictive covenants are attached to it. Restrictive covenants come in “all shapes and sizes” meaning there is a wide range of things you could be restricted from doing. By way of example, the covenant could be considered to be redundant if it restricts you from building a house on the land at a cost of less than £500. However, the covenant could be much more relevant, such as a prohibition against parking a vehicle “used for commercial purposes” on the property or estate roads.
Unfortunately for home owners one such restrictive covenant which is often unknowingly breached is not to add to or alter the property without the consent of the original transferor (the person who originally sold the home – usually a developer or Local Authority). All too often we find that home owners have breached this covenant with an extension, loft conversion or even new windows and doors.
So, what do you do about it?
Firstly, if you are planning to make alterations to a property you are buying be sure to discuss this with your solicitor. He or she will be able to let you know about any relevant restrictive covenants.
If you already own the property and the deeds indicate you need consent from the developer or Local Authority, you should approach them in advance of any work to obtain their consent and keep a copy of the consent in a safe place. This would be in addition to obtaining the appropriate planning permissions and building regulation paperwork.
If you are about to sell your property and don’t know if you have breached such a covenant or, if you know you have, then the Thursfields Residential Property team will be able to assist you with this point and the rest of your sale. To obtain advice on this or to find out more about our fixed fee conveyancing quotes, contact our property teams on:
Kidderminster- 01562 820575
Worcester – 01905 730450
Halesowen- 0121 227 3850
Sedgley- 01902 904060
Stourport- 01299 827517
Solihull – 0121 624 4000