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Alex J.
Alex J., Solicitor
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Experience:  Solicitors 2 years plus PQE
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If a covenant says a property is only to be used

Resolved Question:

If a covenant says a property is only to be used for residential purposes, what does this actually mean? Does it mean I can't run a child minding business? Does it mean I can't be an accountant and work from home? Thanks
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Alex J. replied 1 year ago.
Hi,
Thank you for your question and welcome.
My name is ***** ***** I will assist you.
Being an accountant working from home is probably fine - what this convenant alludes to is you should not be setting up shop and actively having clients and customers or suppliers coming to and from your property and therefore using for something other than your residential home.
Do you know who can enforce the covenant?
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi

We live in a small development of four houses. We are the second owners of the house. The original covenant was with the developers for five years (now passed) and with "other owners permanently". It states we the owners of the property must "Not use any part of the Property other than for private residential purposes". If I was to work from my home office and there was to be no signage; and there would be no huge increase in footfall (at most one visitor every couple of days for say, half an hour), would this be ok? The house is still residential; there would be no "shop frontage" or signage, or regular deliveries or anything that should cause a nuisance.

thanks

Expert:  Alex J. replied 1 year ago.
Hi
Thank you.
The only issue will be if some one that is entitled to enforce the covenant notices what you are doing. If they notice then they might take steps to enforce it i.e by going to court - again this is a very expensive solution to stop someone from having one anonymous visitor every day.
To protect yourself you could buy a one off indemnity insurance policy (normally they cost a couple of hundred pounds) but you can only do this if have not alerted the people that can enforce the covenant that you intend to breach it.
Simply ask yourself how likely is it your neighbours will find out? If they do find out, they are going to simply ask you to stop they are unlikely to then go to court and start seeking injunctions straight away.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thanks. ***** correct in thinking that a court would expect them to send me a letter before action before they did anything such as issue proceedings? If so I would be inclined to carry on quietly but if asked would stop and then look to rent somewhere (or move!!).

No i haven't alerted anyone to the potential breach - where would I go to get such cover?

Expert:  Alex J. replied 1 year ago.
Hi,
Thank you.
Yes they could not just go straight to court without sending a letter before action. A court is very unlikely to issue any kind of injunction if this could be resolved through some form discussion first.
Unfortunately I am legally not allowed to recommend an insurer - but if you search for "restrictive covenant indemnity policy" a whole list of providers will come up - make sure you get them to advise you first on whether such policy is appropriate.
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi AJ

Thanks so much for this advice. It's as I thought about the action that could be taken and on that basis I think I will leave the insurance as if challenged or if I thought the footfall was becoming unreasonable I would stop myself anyway and work elsewhere as I have no wish to be a nuisance to anyone.

Your prompt advice is very welcome. I will be giving you the highest possible rating.

Best wishes

TJ

Expert:  Alex J. replied 1 year ago.
Hi,
Thank you.
I wish you the best of luck. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can assist any further.
Kind regards
AJ
Alex J., Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 3556
Experience: Solicitors 2 years plus PQE
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