Checking for restrictive covenants is one of the essential tasks your conveyancing solicitor will carry out for you when you purchase a property. You may have heard the term before, but what does it actually mean and what are the implications for home owners?
A restrictive covenant is a restriction on what can and cannot be done at or on the property. It will be contained within the deeds to the property.
How do I find out what restrictive covenants affect my property?
You are bound by all restrictive covenants affecting the property, whether you know about them or not. This is just one of the reasons why it is so important to use a solicitor for your conveyancing. Checking the title for covenants and advising clients about their impact is an integral part of the conveyancer’s role.
Why do restrictive covenants matter?
Restrictive covenants affect all owners of the property, not just the first owner who originally signed the document. Restrictive covenants may be designed to protect the look and amenity of a housing development – for example, preventing you from extending your home without permission or stating that you cannot park commercial vehicles there. They may limit the use of a property – for example, by requiring it to be used only as a single-dwelling house or stating that no business, trade or profession can be carried out there.
If you breach a restrictive covenant, you may face legal action from the person with the benefit of it. This could include a court order requiring you to remove any buildings erected in breach of the covenant.
It is sometimes possible to obtain insurance against existing breaches. This is a complex area, and you will need a solicitor to advise you.
In addition to a conveyancer to check the legal title, you will need a surveyor to carry out a survey of the property and report on its physical condition. For a quote for homebuyers survey cost, see sites like homebuyers survey cost .
Buying a property can be full of pitfalls for the unwary. This is why it is so important to use a solicitor to check the legal title to the property and to make you aware of any covenants and restrictions and use a surveyor to inspect the physical condition of the property.