What are Restrictive Covenants and can they affect a house purchase?

What are Restrictive Covenants?

Covenants are legal restrictions or obligations associated with a property, and they can vary widely depending on the property and its history. Covenants might include restrictions on property use, architectural guidelines, maintenance requirements, or other conditions that property owners are obligated to follow. These restrictions are typically outlined in the property deeds.

Buying a House with a Restrictive Covenant?

In most cases, when an estate agent is instructed to sell a property, they should have been made aware of any restrictive covenants from the owners in advance. These details, along with anything deemed to be a ‘material fact’, can then be shared with prospective buyers.

Should a Restrictive Covenant Affect my Decision to Buy a Property?

There are some positives to buying a property with a restrictive covenant. Mainly, these provisions can preserve the property’s (or area’s) quality and value, which is advantageous for homeowners. Aesthetically, it can support the retention of an area’s desired characteristics and in some cases protect shared amenities such as parks, green spaces and common facilities. 

However, it is worth noting that it can place limitations on the property’s use. For example, you might be restricted from running a business from your home or making significant alterations to the exterior. Sometimes, disputes can arise between property owners, particularly if interpretations or circumstances change over time, and legal intervention may be needed to get a resolution. 

A restrictive covenant is not a reason to be put off buying a property, but it is important to understand the terms, its implications and how it might affect your use and enjoyment of the property. During the legal process, a solicitor or conveyancer should be able to alleviate any concerns, and in some cases, negotiations with neighbours or the entity enforcing the covenant may be possible to modify or remove certain restrictions.

Restrictive covenants are something that the DOMVS Sales Progression team are used to working with, and we have helped many buyers and sellers navigate through this process. If you are selling a property with a restrictive covenant, it’s important to work with an estate agent who understands their workings and we’re always on hand to offer our support.

Picture of Marcus Pound

Marcus Pound

Recent Posts