January 30, 2023

What is Covenant Consent and its importance when buying a property

Property solicitor in Sudbury, Melanie Francis, asks the question “what is covenant consent” and looks at the issues buyers of properties should be aware of.

You have finally made the decision. The excitement is too much as you have found that dream property to buy. You have made an offer and it’s been accepted. Now it is time to contact a local property solicitor to deal with the legal requirements of conveyancing. Whether you are a first time buyer or moving onwards to a new house this can be very exciting!

At this stage anyone going through this process is looking forward to moving which may include planning to decorate, maybe buy new furniture and generally making the new property into a home. Some are already looking at what alterations they would like to make to the property, maybe adding a conservatory, a loft conversion or an extension.

What is a covenant on a property?

Whilst we consider the need for planning permission and building control for these alterations, sometimes it does not occur to us all that we may need consent from a third party under the terms of the legal title. This is called Covenant Consent. Some people believe that getting planning permission or building regulation consent from the Council is all that is needed or that if the legal title requires consent of the Council, they don’t need to do anything else other than get planning permission of building regulation consent but unfortunately that is not the case.

How to get covenant consent

The common covenant on legal titles is the requirement to obtain written consent from the original landowner if any alterations are made to the property. It is usually unreasonable for the landlord or developer to refuse the request. The request should be made, and written covenant consent obtained before the works are started. If you are in any doubt, it would be advisable to get specialist conveyancing advice.

Restrictive Covenants on property

The legal title can also contain other types of covenants that restrict what you do at or with the property These are called restrictive covenants. Restrictive covenants, once agreed between the parties, are placed in the title deeds to the property. They bind the land and not the parties personally. In other words, the restrictive covenant 'runs with the land'. This means that the covenant continues to apply even when the original parties to the covenant sell the land on to other people. Restrictive covenants also continue to have effect even though they were made many years ago and appear to be obsolete.

Are restrictive covenants enforceable?

If you fail to abide by the covenants, the person or company with the benefit of the covenant can issue civil proceedings against you for the breach of the covenant and try to claim compensation from you, also known as damages. In some cases it might be required that the breach is corrected, for example an extension might be required to be demolished, although this is extreme.

Get advice from a specialist conveyancing solicitor

Don’t let the excitement of buying your new property allow you to overlook these key covenants. If you have plans to make alterations to the property at the start you should check the title for any covenant restrictions, or ask a property lawyer to do so, and make sure you are aware of what you can and can’t to the property. Holmes & Hills have a large team of property lawyers who deal with thousands of property transactions every year and can offer a wealth of experience in dealing with your legal enquiries.

Get Expert Legal Advice

Call 01206593933 and ask to speak to a property solicitor. Or complete the form below.

Key Contact

Melanie Francis



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