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Restrictive covenant

(25 Posts)
Cinderpi Mon 03-Apr-17 11:30:38

We've had our offer accepted on a house in a lovely village, ideal location for us but does need a lot of work (not an issue, DH is a builder).

We've just had the legal pack back though, highlighting that because it's an ex-council house there's a restrictive covenant meaning we have to get permission from the council (over and above planning permission/building regs) for structural alterations.

I've been chasing the council to find out what this would involve, but since they're slow getting back to me was wondering whether anyone on here had encountered this before?

Getting a bit stressed because we're planning to exchange next week, but will have to pull out if the council won't consent to the changes we want...

DancingLedge Mon 03-Apr-17 12:27:18

Ooh, I could do with some insight into that one, will await more.

Indaba Mon 03-Apr-17 16:37:01

Have you thought about asking vendor if they know if any of neighbours done any work?

Cinderpi Mon 03-Apr-17 18:52:40

The vendor is dead, unfortunately! I've chased the council, turns out the person I'd been trying to contact had suddenly gone on long term sick... Now waiting for their legal department to get back to me.

Cinderpi Mon 03-Apr-17 18:53:46

(Obviously the vendor isn't dead, the last resident is dead and her executors are dealing with it...)

Tobuyornot99 Tue 04-Apr-17 08:43:13

I'm in an ex LA house. We've just done what we wanted inside, the likelihood of them turning up to check is nil. Neighbours have various porches / outbuildings / one has a swimming pool! I don't know if they had permission, but no one has been challenged as far as I know. We have the same covenant (plus lots of other odd ones that have pretty much been ignored by everyone)

user1471530109 Tue 26-Dec-17 21:34:50

I know this is an old thread.
But wondered if anyone or even the OP has any more news or info on this?

I have just bought an ex council house that also has a restrictive covenant on it to get permission for outbuildings and lean to etc. The last owner bought a indemnity insurance for me as there are 3 sheds and a lean to.
But I want to make the lean to a permanent extension (no bigger than currently is). Other houses along the street have extensions and all have the same identical lean to!

How do I gain this permission? And if I do contact the council about this, do I then void the indemnity insurance? The extension is so small it would normally be considered permitted development.

Has anyone dealt with this before? My neighbours have just said not to bother worrying about it and go ahead. But I have the worst luck in the world...

user1471530109 Wed 27-Dec-17 10:14:00

Anyone? I can't find much online.

happylantern Wed 27-Dec-17 18:36:32

@user1471530109 usually if it's a new build estate you'd just write a letter to the developer and they write you a letter back (have had to do this twice), I assume the same would be the case with the council.

Phone the council and ask to speak to their legal department?

happylantern Wed 27-Dec-17 18:37:53

@user1471530109 or just do it anyway and take out another indemnity policy if/when you sell I suppose??

Lelivre Wed 27-Dec-17 20:28:57

I think you can engage a solicitor and have it lifted. Perhaps you can do a 15 free minute apt to go over the question.
My husbands business purchased a such a house and it required change of use. There was a RC against running a business from the property and the solicitor dealt with it retrospectively post sale.

user1471530109 Thu 28-Dec-17 10:27:25

Thank you.
I think I'll email solicitor and ask her advice as I don't want to void the indemnity and have a problem fsmile

CotswoldStrife Thu 28-Dec-17 10:33:59

I used to live in an area where it was common to have restrictive covenants on houses - our first didn't have one, the solicitor that dealt with our second property purchase was surprised!

In our case, the covenant was held by a private company and you were supposed to ask them first (and presumably pay a small fee) for permission to do work. If you didn't then the work would come to light when the house was sold and the fee for retrospective permission would be bigger. This may look like a bit of a money-making scheme but I couldn't possibly comment grin

Not sure about the Council owning the covenant, hopefully the legal team will get back to you soon but I suspect a similar set up tbh!

gladysp2 Thu 28-Dec-17 10:51:45

I would be careful. Our house had a restrictive covenant on it from when it was built in the 50's (saying you couldn't build within 6ft of the boundary & we wanted to extend within 5ft of the boundary) and we engaged a solicitor to get it removed - he said it wouldnt be a problem but it was a long slow job. We got council planning permission and the builders started work. However our weird neighbours knew about the RC and sent us a very nasty cease work immediately letter once the foundations were dug. It turned into a nightmare as we were advised by a barrister that they could take us to court. It was very expensive and stressful. We did get it removed legally after a year but building work was delayed and our neighbours have waged a vendetta against us ever since!

ShovellerDuck Thu 28-Dec-17 19:15:54

I’m having the same problem and the RC is now held by a housing association who have made me agree to pay their administration fees, legal fees, surveyor’s fee and valuation fee, after which they will announce what fee I must pay to have RC lifted. It could be any figure they please, they have a National department dedicated to making money out of these old covenants. Every time my solicitor contacts them (without any response) that’s another £250 I owe the solicitor.
I believe it’s called “Ransom payment”.

user1471530109 Thu 28-Dec-17 19:37:17

duck that's terrible!

Having it lifted would be brilliant. But I'd be happy to just have permission to have the 'extension' etc.
Or maybe, I should just ignore it and when I come to sell, just pass on the indemnity policy (can I do that?).
Many of the ex council houses down the street have extensions and pretty much all of them have the same identical lean-to.

Duck was removing the covenant the only option? You're not based in the Warwickshire area are you? confused

EssexMummy123456 Thu 28-Dec-17 21:13:15

We had to have one removed as a condition of our mortgage - it was very very expensive to have removed,

user1471530109 Thu 28-Dec-17 21:27:26

This really doesn't sound good at all sad

Like I said, it's quite obvious that they aren't enforced from the rest of the street. I'm guessing all the ex council houses in the area have the same covenants, but again, many of them have been extended and modified.

I'd also read that it's v v difficult for a HA to enforce them anyway? As in, if anything ever went to court, it is v unlikely to go in favour of the HA. Especially if it doesn't benefit anyone.

I'm really not planning on moving. Not unless I meet the man of my dreams who owns a mansion and then having learnt from last divorce, I'd keep the house anyway as backup

Unescorted Thu 28-Dec-17 21:42:52

Get legal advice. Covenants are a really complex bit of property law. You then need to decide if they are personal or run with the land. If they are personal then they fall away when either party disposes of the land. If they are running with the land then you have to decide if it is enforceable. To do that you have to determine why the covenant was put in place in the first place.
None of these can be done without seeing the title of the covenant wording.

If you covenant is in favour of the Housing Corporation or Homes & Communities Agency dm me your email & will send you the details of how to get it lifted.

user1471530109 Fri 29-Dec-17 10:09:59

That is extremely nice of you, unescorted. I'm pretty sure the RC is attached to the land/property rather than trying he original buyer off the council. I only completed on the 1st Dec so will dig out the paperwork and check.
Many Many thanks wine

user1471530109 Fri 29-Dec-17 18:46:28

I've dug out the paperwork and deeds. I'm not actually clear whether the covenant is on the property or the original purchasers that bought the council house (same people I bought it off. They lived there from the beginning, bought it off council in 80s then sold to me).
I've attached the pics.....I think.

user1471530109 Fri 29-Dec-17 18:47:53

And again

user1471530109 Fri 29-Dec-17 18:50:14

It does say that the council have the right to remove the covenant from both this property and neighbouring properties at any time. Which is promising!

ShovellerDuck Fri 29-Dec-17 19:01:52

I’m not in Warwickshire and in my case I want to sell part of my garden for building on. The RC forbids any building at all. I have planning permission but the covenant needs to be lifted before the land can be auctioned.
My solicitor says the housing association are terrible people to deal with.

user1471530109 Fri 29-Dec-17 19:15:00

There are a few examples in nearby villages where ex council houses have sold and built new houses on the large gardens.

There is a mention of 21 years in the deeds and I'm not sure what that relates to.

Duck that sounds such a pain. How can the council agree planning and then the HA be so bloody difficult! I have read somewhere that they wouldn't normally fight it as going to court they would almost certainly lose. Does your solicitor not agree obviously ?

@Unescorted shamelessly tagging you to see if you can make head nor tail of those pages from my deeds.

I think I've decided to go ahead with making the changes as they are internal and won't alter the outside as it stands. The structure has been there 40+ years so was probably there when they purchased it off the council. I'm going to risk it and then tackle the covenant after. Unless you think this is an horrendous idea...

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