Restrictive Covenant Disputes for Commercial Property
Restrictive covenants on commercial properties are a common source of disputes. They have the potential to hamper an owner’s or occupant’s actions but can also be essential to protecting the interests of neighbouring landowners, property owners and other key stakeholders.
At IBB Law, our Real Estate team are highly experienced in dealing with restrictive covenant disputes on commercial property. Whether you own or lease a property with a restrictive covenant or benefit from the terms of a covenant, we can support you in a wide range of scenarios.
Drawing on our detailed knowledge of commercial restrictive covenant disputes and wider commercial property law, as well as expert litigation skills, we can find the best outcome for you and your business.
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Complete support for commercial restrictive covenant disputes
At IBB Law, our experts can provide fast, effective support for all matters involving restrictive covenant disputes on commercial property. Our services include:
- Uncovering restrictive covenants on commercial property
- Understanding the terms of commercial property covenants
- Challenging commercial restrictive covenants
- Removing real estate restrictive covenants
- Breach of commercial restrictive covenants
Why choose IBB Law for help with restrictive covenant disputes on commercial property?
IBB Law’s experts in commercial property disputes can offer you:
- Extensive specific expertise with restrictive covenant disputes on commercial property across our team
- Independently accredited expertise with our Real Estate Litigation expertise being ranked by leading client guide Chambers & Partners, with our broader Real Estate services also being ranked. The team is also ranked by the Legal 500 for Property Litigation
- Various members of our Real Estate team hold professional memberships, including with the Property Litigation Association (PLA), reflecting the high standards of our lawyers
Discuss your case with our experts
You can call one of our legal offices directly or fill in the enquiry form on our contact page and one of our legal team will call you.
How our lawyers can support you with commercial restrictive covenant disputes
Uncovering restrictive covenants on commercial property
Knowing what restrictive covenants exist on a property can help to avoid disputes but can also be critical if you have been accused of breaching a covenant. It is always sensible to investigate the title of a property before purchasing or entering a lease agreement and this should be a standard part of the conveyancing process. That said, things can sometimes be missed, meaning the first time you find a commercial restrictive covenant applies to your property could be when someone informs you of a potential breach.
Our team can thoroughly investigate the title of your property, so you can be confident you know about any and all covenants and what actions they prevent. This can give peace of mind that you can avoid a breach, allow you to take any necessary action to remove a covenant and give you a clear idea of your position in relation to a possible breach.
Understanding the terms of commercial property covenants
Exactly what actions a restrictive covenant prevents are not always immediately clear, especially if the terms have been written in an ambiguous way. It is therefore recommended to seek professional advice to ensure you are absolutely clear what the terms are, what action you can take and what is prohibited.
Our experts can talk you through the terms of any restrictive covenants affecting your commercial property in plain English. You can then be confident that you know exactly what you can and cannot do, minimising the risk of disputes. If a dispute has arisen, knowing what the terms of a covenant mean is the first step in finding the best way forward for your interests.
Challenging commercial restrictive covenants
If you believe the terms of a restrictive covenant need modification, then it may be possible to challenge the covenant and have it changed to better suit your interests. For example, if the covenant prevents alterations to a building, it may be necessary to secure an exemption for certain essential works to make the property fit for purpose.
We can advise on whether challenging the terms of a restrictive covenant may be a suitable option and, where so, guide you through the necessary process. Our experts can also advise on whether it may be a better option to seek the removal of the restrictive covenant altogether.
Removing real estate restrictive covenants
Where you feel a restrictive covenant is preventing you from taking essential actions for your business, it may be possible to have it removed. This can either be achieved through private agreement with the parties that benefit from the covenant or by applying to the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) to remove the covenant.
Our team can guide you through your options to remove a restrictive covenant on your property, negotiating for you with the benefiting parties, as well as preparing an application to the Upper Tribunal and representing you at any hearings as required.
Breach of commercial restrictive covenants
Where you have been accused of breaching a restrictive covenant or believe that another party has breached a covenant you benefit from, it is important to get accurate legal advice and proactive support as soon as possible. In this way, it is often possible to prevent the matter from escalating, allowing you to secure a good outcome quickly and cost-effectively.
Our team can advise both those accused of breaches and those affected by a possible breach. In most cases, we are able to negotiate amicable resolutions to commercial restrictive covenant disputes that work for all parties, but we can also represent you during more formal proceedings should the need arise.
Common questions about commercial property covenants
A restrictive covenant is a contractual agreement whereby a landowner or property owner agrees not to carry out certain actions with respect to their land or property. Once a restrictive covenant is created, it will remain in place even when the land or property is sold.
Restrictive covenants are also commonly used in lease agreements, so are something both freeholders and leaseholders need to be aware of.
Common types of restrictive covenants include those that prevent land from being developed or property from being extended or altered, as well as those that prohibit any change of use of the land or property. Covenants can also prevent actions such as subletting a property or place limitations on parking, amongst a wide range of other issues.
In theory, a restrictive covenant can be used to restrict a very wide range of actions by the owner or occupant of a commercial property, so it is important to make sure you are fully aware of any covenants in place before buying or leasing a property.
Any restrictive covenants against your property should be recorded with its title deeds. You can find a commercial restrictive covenant on your property by applying to the Land Registry for copies of the title to your property. Many people choose to have a solicitor carry this out for them to ensure the process is followed correctly and nothing is missed.
There are two main ways to remove a restrictive covenant on a property – by private agreement or through an application to the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber).
To reach a private agreement with all of the parties who benefit from the covenant, you will need to discuss the issue with them and negotiate terms for ending the restrictive covenant (this will often involve some form of payment by the party wishing to remove the covenant to those benefiting from it). A Deed of Release can then be drawn up and signed by the relevant parties to legally end the covenant.
If an agreement cannot be reached, you can instead apply to the Upper Tribunal to discharge the covenant. You can only make such an application where you believe the restrictive covenant prevents a reasonable use of the land or property, so it is important to have a well-constructed and supported case before submitting your application.
A property lawyer with experience in restrictive covenant disputes will be able to advise you on the best option for your situation. They can then help with private negotiations and/or preparing an application to the Upper Tribunal as required.
The penalties for breach of a restrictive covenant can be very serious, including being required to undo any works carried out in breach of the covenant, having to pay a fine and/or being required to pay damages to the other party or parties affected.
If you believe you have breached a restrictive covenant on a commercial property, you should seek expert legal advice as soon as possible. With the right support, it may be possible to retrospectively have a covenant removed or take other actions to minimise any negative impact on you or your business from a breach.
Discuss your case with our experts
You can call one of our offices directly or fill in the enquiry form on our contact page and one of our legal team will call you.