A covenant is a useful method of controlling the use and development of land.
Restrictive covenants are characterised by their prohibitive nature; they restrict a land owner from performing an activity on its land to benefit neighbouring land. Restrictive covenants can for example limit the use of land for residential purposes only, or they can prevent the development of land or the construction of any additions to existing buildings.
Covenants can be viewed as both a burden and a protection. To local residents and conservationists they can be a means of protecting the amenity of their local areas. To developers they might be a burden and restrict land development. Alternatively, in the case of a newly developed estate, developers may use covenants to protect the character of the area. It is important to obtain expert legal advice to consider two important questions: firstly whether the covenants are enforceable; and secondly if they are overly burdensome, whether the covenants can be discharged or modified.
IBB’s Real Estate Dispute Resolution team regularly advises landowners in relation to restrictive covenants and deals with matters in the County Court/High Court and in the Lands Tribunal. These matters include professional negligence claims in relation to solicitors’ and surveyors’ negligence.