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Restrictive Conveyance – Buying a house and it has clauses in the original contract – is this normal?(20 Posts)
Hi, I am purchasing my first house and we are hoping to complete within a week or two. My solicitor has sent us the searches (finally!) and he has mentioned the property has certain restrictions from the original developer. I googled the company and they are still active but “a dormant company” and regularly change directors.
This is what my Solicitor has put it the report on title –
You must not carry out any additions or alterations to the Property without first obtaining written consent of the original Developer. This consent should not be unreasonably withheld and it is required over and above any requisite planning permission or building regulations approval from the local authority.
▪The Property must be used for residential purposes only. This means that the Property cannot be used for business purposes of any kind and this covenant relates to any garages as well as the dwelling house.
This is a huge problem for us as we had plans to build a dormer extension and move the garage etc.. I am also self employed and run a business from home ☹ I have tried contacting my Solicitor, but he isn’t returning my calls or emails. Its been a very long buying process and we are seriously fed up.. this has just added to the stress ☹
Any advice or help would be greatly appreciated ..
Thank you and keep safe 😊 xxxx
How old is the house? Conditions and covenants are not uncommon on newbuilds during phased development and beyond. However they may not be enforceable long term do your solicitor needs to check. Have any others done similar work? Permission may be a formality, for a fee.
Hi, It was built in 1963, other people have had work done but we are not sure if its recent or not Its so difficult to know what to do and my solicitor is useless.. Ive tried ringing him today and emailing but no response
I am worried about my business.. its a bit of a deal breaker for us
Thank you xxx
Can you ask for the covenant to be lifted or get the sellers to indemnify you against the covenant being enforced?
What a pain.
Do you run the admin side of the business or actually see clients there? Our house had similar clauses and I think it was akin to change of use - to discourage people from running a mechanic shop from the garage for example.
For us the original developer was the council, and permission to extend cost about £200 - I made sure we had it agreed before exchanging contracts. Perhaps you could contact the developer?
Hi, When i spoke to the estate agents today she contacted the sellers and they was not aware of it.
They have inherited it from their Dad though, she did say they was not aware of anything like that as they bought it in 1997.
We had so many plans, we wanted to build a larger garage, dormer roof, knock some walls through etc.. i just hope my solicitor gets back to me on Tuesday and puts my mind at rest x
The developer has been changing hands every couple of years Its had 14 names on the ownership. Its been dormant for years but they are still submitting tax returns each year - only reason i can think of is if they are going to take people to court for breaching the contracts (I might be looking on the dark side of things- i just find it odd)
It says I have to go to the developer and the council The estate agent said they usually put it in there because they want the work for any changes to the houses,, but they will be long gone by now.. - when I have checked its still active x
Usually the business aspect means change of use- if it remains predominantly a home then it’s not usually an issue. Restrictions on extending usually just require permission- it depends if the developer seeks financial gain for this- your solicitor needs to raise further questions on this.
You may find this useful OP
Wouldn't worry too much. We have similar where we bought. Our lawyer v relaxed. Quite common. We both work from home....it is really to stop me turning house into a pub.
Re extensions....in all of these things,
developers are not allowed to withhold consent unfairly....highly unlikely to be enforceable. We have one which means we can't turn my garage into residential ever, but even that lawyer said we could work around if we really wanted to. He was very chilled about it all.
Sure someone will come along with proper legal knowledge but I do no t think it will be a big issue. Just posting so you don't worry all weekend. Good luck.
Standard 'developer' clauses to preserve the look/feel of the estate, from 1963... honestly, i'd just completely ignore them.
I'm sure the neighbours would have been taking no consideration of them for decades, & I can't ever remember reading about generic ones such as this being enforced after such a long period of time.
1963 - that's donkeys years ago. Have you walked round and had a look at the other houses? I find it hard to believe that none have been altered in that time. I also can't think that the developers are waiting to leap on people's backs and sue them for breaching covenants, it would be a foolish way to spend a lot of money for....what exactly? There would be no financial gain for them.
Can you speak to someone who has altered their house?
It may mean that you cannot AirB&B rooms in the house - it may be useful to know if the neighbours are bound by a similar covenants.
There are specialist solicitors that deal with these.
We had the same, plus other covenants on a property we were buying. We only found out about them when we picked up the contract to sign for exchange.
I run a business from my home, and in the end I couldn't take the risk. The covenants were still active, and all it would take it someone to report me. The council is separate, they don't get involved and would grant planning permission if ok with them.
Can't help you with the first point as it depends on if anyone is actually enforcing it! My parents checked the latter, though, and they were allowed to run small businesses from home despite their lease being similar so long as it stayed primarily a home. Their house was built in the 1930s, so I really can't see who would be enforcing it! According to mine, I'm not allowed to sell alcohol from my 1920s build ex-council house !
Can you do a search on the local authority planning permission website for houses the same as yours on the same estate and see if any have had planning granted in the last few years or however long the online records go back?
Wow!! really good tips and information... thankyou so much everyone for your help! I am feeling more relaxed.. I think il start stressing again on Tuesday when Im struggling to speak to my Solicitor again :P People locally have done work on their properties, il see if I can speak to any neighbours before completion
I will see what my Solicitor says about running a business, its a huge thing for me as its my only income - fingers crossed we can change it xx
The only thing to bear in mind, as I mentioned above re the council. When we were researching, we learnt the council doesn't get involved in, or care about covenants. All they care about is the development. You may find, as we did, that the council have approved planning permission because all of their requirements were met. You can then go ahead with the building works knowing you are breaking the covenants and hope no one reports you. I don't know if it's true, but I thought we could have applied for indemnity insurance once any development was a year old.
We have one saying we can't park a car on the land, but every house on the street has a drive and dropped kirb.... Our solicitor got the sellers to pay for an indemnity policy against it, is that a possibility here?
I've had one property that had covenants on it, when we bought it we were advised that if we wanted to do anything it would be better to get permission in advance as they would probably charge a nominal fee - however, if we did anything and didn't tell them when we sold the property they were likely to charge more!
Apparently it was common in that particular area to have that kind of covenant on a house - our first property was in the same area and didn't have it though!