Michael Perrin, Solicitor in our residential property department looks at how before you set out to do any significant development of your property, it is worth taking a quick look at the deeds. Just having planning permission is not enough to let such a development proceed if there is a covenant over the land that prevents it.
In a recent case, a woman who wished to convert a barn on her land to a residential property obtained the necessary planning permission. However, there was an additional problem – a restrictive covenant over the property in favour of the owner of adjacent land, from whom she had bought her property some 30 years previously. This prevented any building or additional dwelling on the land without their permission.
She went to court to have the covenant modified to allow the development. It was agreed that the value of the land owned by the beneficiary of the covenant would be reduced by approximately £65,000 by the conversion and the construction of an access road to the property.
Fortunately for the woman, the court decided that the inconvenience to the owner of the adjacent land during the construction was not sufficient reason to prevent it, and ruled that the development could go ahead subject to the woman paying the owner of the adjacent land £65,000.