Restrictive Covenants - new house

Discussion in 'Finance, Property, Law' started by Command_doh, Jul 22, 2013.

Welcome to the Army Rumour Service, ARRSE

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial military website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. Command_doh

    Command_doh LE Book Reviewer

    Not an area I have much experience in, but my solicitors are telling me there are 'potentially' pages missing in an attachment to the title deeds they have obtained from Land Registry (downloaded and hard copy), because of an annotation in the corner of one page, indicating there should be others.

    Sellers say there are no other pages and their lawyers will not pay for the insurance. My Solicitor says I have to pay the insurance or risk being sued later if I do something prohibited. I am concerned as to the blanket statement 'there could be anything on any missing pages'. Where does this leave me, if I were to say, build a 'shed-outhouse' (as so many do) at great expense, and find out I wasn't allowed to do it due to a series of missing documents in the deeds? I am assuming a paltry insurance payout won't help me if I am told to tear it down?

    How common is it to have (potentially) pages missing from title deeds? It seems rather strange to me.
  2. My old man has an insurance policy over ransom strip running down the edge of his land. He has outline planning permission for a house on the land. The insurance policy is a one off payment and covers up to £350k should someone claim the strip of land.
    It's not that uncommon where builders have gone bust and bits of land left behind there are of no use or value but don't seem to have ownership.
  3. I would suggest that a staement notarised by their lawyers, from the selelrs stating that they have no knowledge of any additional preconditions, and a letter from the sellers lawyers stating that despite exhausive searches the missing pages cannot be found.

    Is the property old ?- the missing pages may refer to archaic practies as I had once - Ye shall not operate a slaughter house nor a gunpowder factory, thou shalst not brew thine own ale nor grind thy corn but upon the lairds cornmill, upon fine of two groats.

    • Like Like x 1
  4. LancePrivateJones

    LancePrivateJones LE Book Reviewer

    That sounds familiar.

    When I bought my first house (in Aldershot) it had a restrictive covenant that prohibited my property being used for butchery and any allied trades for reward, the covenant dated from the house being built which was in about 1898.
  5. Command_doh

    Command_doh LE Book Reviewer

    Thanks for the answers so far.

    As far as I can tell, it is a property built by someone on their own land, dividing it up, but this property is only about 25 years old. The previous titles go back to 1954 as far as I can see, but I don't know about 'historic' restrictions.

    It's in Buckinghamshire, so there could be something about horses and cartwheels!
  6. maninblack

    maninblack LE Book Reviewer

    There are a few things to consider.

    1) How likely is it that covenants are in existence?
    2) How likely is it that someone else has a record of the covenants if the current owner and Land Registry don't?
    3) How likely is it that your solicitor is blowing this up to create work at £75 per hour?
    4) How likely is it that should points 1 and 2 come together the person with the information acts upon it? for example, do they give two hoots if you repair your bike in the garage but there is a covenant forbidding bicycle repair on the premises.
    5) There are millions of covenants out there and the majority are ignored and unenforeced.

    I used to own a property (built about 1885) with a covenant forbidding me from making bricks. My next door neighbour was forbidden from commercial pig keeping. I was not forbidden fronm keeping pigs and he was not forbidden from making bricks.

    Insurance for ancient unlikely covenants is very cheap. If you like the house then pay up. It is probably the price of a good night out with a meal thrown in.
    • Like Like x 4
  7. You will need to purchase an indemnity... It shouldn't be too expensive, but it insures you up to a set amount in the (highly) unlikely event of you breaching an (archaic) restrictive covenant somewhere down the line...
    • Like Like x 2
  8. Personally I wouldn't touch it with a barge pole. Find another house to buy.

    Restrictive covenants can be very troublesome and can dictate who can and cannot live in a building, as well as any activities carried on e.g. 'no pets', 'no children', no alcohol, no TV aerials, etc. If you break a restrictive covenant then be careful: in the worst case it may cost you the ownership of the property as in some cases (albeit rare) breach of a covenant can result in the property being returned to its original estate.

    If you speak to a decent insurance broker then they can get (proper) levels of insurance to protect you against any fallout, however why bother? There are loads of houses out there: find one without any bolloxs like this going on.
  9. Command_doh

    Command_doh LE Book Reviewer

    This was my first thought, having seen these blood suckers at work in previous attempts to buy.
  10. LancePrivateJones

    LancePrivateJones LE Book Reviewer

    My Solicitor only informed me of the covenant because she was doing her job properly.

    She advised me that the covenant itself was worth Jack-Shit unless I actually intended to open an Abattior/Butchers on the premises with the qualifying caveat of reward for services rendered as a trade.

    Interesting that so many properties are banned from doing this type of thing, I would have been happier if I had been banned from using it as a brothel for instance.
  11. I owned a property with a covenent on a 1970s built housing estate. It said that there should be no front garden fences & nobody is allowed to park a caravan , works van or any other trailer on their drive. It also stated front gardens must be kept as lawn & not paved over. These were written in after Lord Godington (who sold the land to the developers) decided he wanted a say in how the estate will look & made it a condition of sale on the land. If you drive down that street now you can see what an utter waste of time that was.

    Edited to add.... The only problem I had with it was when I applied for planning for a two storey extention on the side. Since this ment building on the little bit of the drive at the side I was not allowed to put my study/man cave on the lower floor , but was allowed to have a garage. In the covenent was a clause saying each semi det had to have parking for two cars off street. Since we were not allowed to pave the front lawn it had to be a garage/carport or nothing. This was solved after the final building extention by a sneaky bit of internal stud wall. Which also gave me a nice lil bike garage at the front. Oh & we still paved the front about a year later. No problems at all when we sold it on 5 yrs later either.

  12. My missus is an expert on Land Law and can answer all your questions, but she will require money to do so.

    £50 an hour and that's a bargain.
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Command_doh

    Command_doh LE Book Reviewer

    So people have paved over their front lawns?

    This was one of the things I was afraid of - if for example I wanted another car space at the front. In reality, how often are these things 'enforced'?
  14. Read my edited post mate.
    • Like Like x 1
  15. To be fair.. this Godington chap was a major PITA for the developers. Hes been dead a few years now & people pretty much do what they like with thier property now.