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Alex J.
Alex J., Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 3493
Experience:  Solicitors 2 years plus PQE
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I live on a development where there are restrictive covenants

Customer Question

I live on a development where there are restrictive covenants - one of the main ones being that parking is only permitted in designated parking bays and nowhere else. This is a thorny problem and residents regularly park outside the designated parking bays, often in what could be deemed to be quite dangerous positions. The question is, realistically what can we do about this problem? Assuming all the papework is correct, how viable is it to take the matter to the Law? What are the averge costs involved? What are the average timescales? Does the Law support Covenants or is it usual that the defendant has sympathy?
Thank you - Director of one of the many small Limited Companies on the Development. It would be the Holding Company who would take any legal action.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Thank you for your question and welcome.
My name is ***** ***** I will assist you.
Is this a private road?
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Good question! Part of the road is adopted and part is not. We have parking issues on both. However, the Covenant does say that parking on the whole of the development is only permitted within designated areas, so don't know if the Covenant has a higher status than the Council.

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Thank you.
For the adopted part of the road you should go to the council and ask them introduce parking restrictions.
For the un adopted part of the road - that is slightly more tricky. Do your leases on the development say something like or similar to- "You will comply will all rules and regulations issued by the landlord from time to time?"
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

On the adopted part of the road I don't think the residents would appreciate yellow lines or sign posts which would really detract from the appearance of what is an award winning development.

For the unadopted part of the road system, the tenants have leases with the owners/landlords and I am an owner and as such had to sign the Covenant at the time of purchase to say that I would abide by the rules. So, although the tenants might be breaking the rules (as indeed are some residents) we know we would have to take up the matter with the owners.

We just want to know the viability using the Law and I suppose the importance of the Covenant - the thought being what is the point of it if we realistically cannot use it to make sure they are adhere to.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Sorry - missed your reply to my answer to your last question. We do not want unsightly lines or signs on the development, we want to enforce the covenants that each purchaser had to agree to on purchase.

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Thank you.
You can use the restrictive covenant and go to court to enforce it as your land benefits from it. However you would have to enfoce it against someone, i.e is there a prime "Offender"?
In my opinion it is however not a practical solution as realistically you cannot go waving a court order at someone everyone time they park in contravention of the parking rules.
You would be better off forming a residence committee under the holding company and creating a set of rules either fining people or having private security come to the road once a week and clamp people that break the rules. This would have to be paid for by a service charge but would still be cheaper than court action - also you are more likely to get everyone to agree to this than to agree to have the holding company start court proceedings against the worst offenders.
Do you have a committee already in existence?
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Yes, we do have a very hard working committee who are at a loss to know what to do next as polite conversations and polite notices do not work.

I don't really understand what happens if someone breaks any of the rules of the covenants. If they are taken to Court, which I read your comments can be very expensive, and the Law upholds that the Covenant has been broken, what exactly can the Development to enforce - so with a parking offence - can we fine the offender? with an unapproved extension for example, can we insist that it is taken down?

I am on a Committee and we all know that there are Covenants, and we all know what they say, but we don't really know what powers we have, so to date have been quite gentle.

Thanks

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Thank you.
The committee could agree to introduce a regime of fines or enforcement for anyone that offends the rules.
This goes back to me original point - does your lease say you have to abide by rules set by the landlord from time to time? When the committee wants to introduce a rules does this require unanimity?
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I do not have a Lease as an owner. I have just signed a Covenant as a purchaser.

The owners who rent out have leases with their tenants, and in the Leases they cover the parking situation.

So we accept that where tenants break the rules, it will be the Landlord/Owner who pays any fines!

But, back to the Covenant, I still don't understand what powers it gives us

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Thank you.
My apologies for the confusion lets go back to the covenant.
Is the covenant contained on the title of your property? Do you have a copy of your property title to hand?
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

The negative Covenants are within the title of the Properties but the positive ones are not and each purchaser signs the positive covenants to say they accept them etc etc,. This includes the parking statement which says that cars may only be parked on the development within designated areas (which are clearly marked).

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I can get a copy of the first Covenant for the properties tonight and scan and email to you tomorrow if this helps. Can I have your email address to do this?

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Thank you.
The separate covenant that you signed - was this in a separate deed with the landlord?
If you could send me the covenant that would be great? Can you paste it into this thread?
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

If this thread stays "open", I will do tomorrow when I can get hold of a the original Covenant. What we all sign as subsequent purchaser refers to the original Covenant to say that we accept that.

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Thank you.
The thread should remain open.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I did not get an opportunity to find the document last night and scan it, but did have a conversation with the Chairman of the Main Board Ltd Company which oversees the development. He said that car clamping was not now legal on private land, which presumably would be the non adopted part of where we live. As for the adopted part, if there are no signs then the Council would not be interested in clamping and we do not want unsightly signs and yellow markings on the roads, so I was told that there is nothing we can do except polite cajoling into encouraging residents and tenants to park sensibly and in the correct places. Do you agree?

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Thank you.
I think if you can get the developer to agree to let you manage the parking of the un adopted part, then the residents committee should seek to agree a private parking regime.
You wont necessarily need to put up wide scale signs and yellow markings. You could perhaps hire private enforcement to come and tow cars or include your own fining system, but every owner would have to agree to this.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Kind regards
AJ

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