During the purchase of your property your legal representative should have made you aware of what rights and obligations, commonly known as covenants, affect your property. Those rights and covenants that affect your property can be located within the title register and other associated title documents (such as conveyances and transfers) to your property.
Understandingly, for most homeowners the information provided during your purchase is long forgot. It is important however that you are aware of the covenants that bind your property and the impact they can have on how you intend to use your land or property, otherwise you are at risk of breaching them.
What is a covenant?
A covenant places an obligation on what can and cannot be done on the land and/or property. There are two different types of covenant a positive and restrictive. For the purpose of this article our focus will be on restrictive covenants.
A restrictive covenant restricts you from doing or allowing certain things to be done on your property or land. A restrictive covenant runs with the land meaning that the benefit and burden of the covenant remains with the land not the individual homeowner. Therefore, if one of the original parties to the covenant sells their property the restrictive covenant stays with the land and remains enforceable.
Common examples of restrictive covenant
Restrictive covenants can cover a wide range of issues, below we have set out the most common types of restrictive covenants you can encounter:
- Not to alter your property without consent (this could include building an extension);
- Not to park caravans or trade vehicles on your property;
- Not to cause a nuisance or annoyance to your neighbours;
- Not to run a trade of business from your property.
- Not to erect a satellite dish or similar apparatus to the front of your property.
What if there has been a breach
If your property or land has the burden of a restrictive covenant the person with the benefit can seek to stop you from breaching the covenant or have the breach of covenant put right. For example, if you wanted to build an extension on your property and there is a covenant prohibiting you from doing so unless you receive consent from your neighbour, the neighbour can take action against you if you go ahead and proceed to build the extension without their consent.
The types of remedies available to a party with the benefit of the restrictive covenant can seek include:
- A demand of payment for their retrospective consent;
- Injunctive relief i.e to stop you from carrying out the work or for any works undertaken to be removed/demolished.
Can a restrictive covenant be removed?
A restrictive covenant can be removed or modified on application to the Upper Tribunal. Making an application to remove and/or modified a covenant is complex area of law and we advise anyone wishing to remove a covenant that they seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity.
This article serves to highlight the importance of understanding the restrictive covenants that affect your property and that breaching a restrictive covenant can have serious consequences for the breaching party even if they have done so unknowingly.
If you wish to discuss a restrictive covenant on your title that might affect you, or the implications of breaching a covenant and the remedies available to you please get in touch with our Lee Pashen today on 0345 241 3100 or alternatively by using the contact us page on the website.
Disclaimer: This article should be taken as general guide only and should not be taken as containing legal advice.