What are restrictive covenants?
In property or land a ‘restrictive covenant’ is a technical term for a binding legal agreement between landowners, which restricts them from doing something on, or to the property.
Restrictive covenants are often imposed by a seller who wants to retain some control over a property, or protect the benefit of surrounding land/landowners.
Restrictive covenants bind the land/property and will continue to do so. Even when owners move on, the restrictions will continue to stay in place, and bind future owners no matter how many years later, which could potentially affect your use/future use of the property.
Common restrictive covenants
A landowner can apply almost any restrictive covenant they like on the land they are selling to you within reason. Some restrictions aim to guarantee consistency in a certain area (uniform front door colours etc.) while some restrict pets and other animals being kept on the property.
Some of the most common restrictions we see include:
- Limits to tree cutting
- Forbidding fencing
- No trade/business to be carried out
- No structural alterations without developers consent
- No chickens/other domestic poultry to be kept at the property
- Restrictions on exterior paintwork
This list is by no means exhaustive, however it does give you a good idea of what kind of restrictions owners apply to their land.
It is a common belief that restrictive covenants are set in stone and there is no way around them however this is not always correct. Restrictive covenants may be challenged, however if you choose to ignore them, they may be enforced by the court. This could leave you facing a claim in damages or an injunction forbidding you to break the covenant.
As a specialist in all aspects of conveyancing, it is our job to check the restrictive covenants, check for any breaches and report to our clients, giving you peace of mind during the buying process.
The law relating to restrictive covenants can be extremely complex, so if you require further advice regarding this area of the law the please feel free to call us, email us or pop in to see us at Peter Robinson & Co. any time.