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What are Restrictive Covenants?

Sue Woodall, Director and Head of Astle Paterson’s Conveyancing Department discusses restrictions land owners may encounter following a purchase of their property.

Sue said “Many people believe that as owner of your home, you have the right to do whatever you wish with your land and property.  This may not always be the case.

Some properties are subject to specific restrictions relating as to what can be done on that land.   This can arise because an owner who sells part of their land seeks to impose restrictions for the use of that land after it is sold – such restrictions are known as Restrictive Covenants and are normally set out in the property’s deeds and title documentation.

For example, it is not unusual for a builder selling a newly built house on a residential estate to impose restrictions on the new owners of the property to maintain the appearance of the area, including a ban from keeping a caravan on the driveway, from erecting fences in the front garden – or even for painting the front door a different colour!

Other common examples of Restrictive Covenants include a ban from further development of the land, a ban from keeping livestock other than pets, or a ban from running a business from the property.”

Sue continued “Should a property be subject to a Restrictive Covenant, a property owner who breaches the restriction could face Court Proceedings and ultimately an order to pay compensation or an order imposed by the Court banning further breaches backed with a threat of prison.

It is therefore vitally important that you know of any such Restrictive Covenants prior to purchase of your property and your Conveyancing Solicitors will highlight these to you at an early stage of the transaction – prior to you being tied into the purchase.”

Sue concluded “Should Restrictive Covenants affect a property, in some circumstances, Indemnity Insurance can be purchased to cover the owner in the event of any claims being made.”

Astle Paterson are Conveyancing Quality Scheme accredited and are able advise you fully as to nature of any Restrictive Covenants that may affect the property you wish to purchase and what effect they will have on you.   Further, we can purchase on your behalf suitable Indemnity Insurance to cover you unwittingly find yourself in breach of Restrictive Covenants.

Should you be in the process of buying or selling a home, please contact our conveyancing department on 01283 531366 or by email at conveyancing@astlepaterson.co.uk for a no obligation free quotation for our services.

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