My Neighbour is in Breach of Covenant – What are my Options?
Posted on 23rd January 2020
A restrictive covenant is, in effect, a restriction registered against the title to a property, which prevents a particular activity being carried out on the land. As examples, common covenants that our conveyancing solicitors see on a daily basis include:
- Not to use the property for any other purpose other than that of a private dwelling house;
- Not to use, or permit to be used, the land for any purpose which may be, or become, a nuisance, annoyance or cause detriment to the adjoining landowners.
- Not to keep animals at the property, other than those of a domestic nature.
Covenants can, however, largely vary in their wordings and intentions. See our blog on restrictive covenants, for more information.
If you are aware of a particular covenant affecting a property, and believe the same has been breached, this could lead the property owner liable to enforcement action as a result. If you believe that a neighbouring property is in breach of covenant, and the same is causing detriment to your reasonable use and enjoyment of your property, there are a number of ways in which our solicitors in Preston may assist.
In order to assist, our solicitors in Preston are able to obtain Official Copy Entries from the Land Registry, in respect of the title to the property. The Official Copy Entries are a record of all information the Land Registry holds in connection with that particular property. See our blog on Official Copy Entries for more information on their importance and use.
Upon obtaining the Official Copy Entries, our conveyancing solicitors would have access to the various matters affecting the property, inclusive of any rights, restrictions, conditions and other stipulations. If your neighbour was in breach of a particular covenant, this would be the first port of call for our solicitors in Preston. A thorough review of the title would then be carried out for clarity as to whether a particular covenant had been breached.
Our solicitors in Preston would require sight of the covenant itself, this is to ensure that the same was appropriately drafted in order to be enforced. If the same is too ambiguous the same may not be enforceable. Trusting that the same was enforceable in terms of drafting, there are further points concerning enforceability which we would need to assess. For example, a clear and obvious breach, could be say, building a donkey sanctuary on the back of your terrace house, in the middle of Lancaster town centre.
It would then be necessary to establish the original freeholder to the property and/or the individual whom imposed, and has the benefit of, the covenant. If this individual can be traced, it would be a case of contacting them to advise that the covenant is in breach. This would then allow them to decide if they wish to pursue an appropriate course of action, which may include rectifying the breach or seeking monetary compensation, as examples.
If, however, we were unable to trace whom has the benefit of the covenant, or they are no longer in existence, it would be necessary to write to the property owner and advise that they are in breach of that covenant. In such cases, an application for an injunction may be made to the Court, in order to prevent the covenant being breached.
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