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INC Law, Solicitor-Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 15912
Experience:  LL.B, LPC, LL.M, Pg.Dip, Solicitor-Advocate. UK Practising Certificate issued by SRA., DIFC Courts Registered (Dubai)
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We are being held to ransom by an extremely wealthy land and

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We are being held to ransom by an extremely wealthy land and property development company who hold covenants of over 100 years old on our land. These covenants say we can only build one house per acre and we are restricted to build unless paying them up to 30% of the land value for our right of way and access into our site. The site covers 13 acres with many plot holders. Incidentally 10 years ago this company wanted to develop the site and promised all the plot holders the going rate for their plots within 2 years. Unfortunately, after 10 years of lying to us with false stories and promises, they eventually admitted the site was far too small for their current needs. Resulting in two of us applying for building permission which now seems highly likely we may get it but as i say this company are holding us to ransom saying they are entitled to 30% of the whole value and are quoting the case of Stokes V Cambridge to frighten us into accepting their huge demand. However, that case is slightly different from ours insofar as the covenants are now over 100 years old, plus the company has never in all those years paid towards the upkeep of any of the roads mentioned in the covenants, Also I build a small development on the site over 50 years ago and when asked for payment in accordance with the covenants, i challenged them and two days later they withdrew their demand.
JA: What steps have you taken so far? Have you prepared or filed any paperwork?
Customer: Did you receive my message concerning a company holding us to ransom for covenants rights. because it suddenly disappeared off my screen
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer about this?
Customer: Yes to several who all say we stand a far better chance than evens of winning our case but unfortunately, the company know to take this to court would cost us thousands of pounds and this is what they are playing us against.
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: Please Please Help us because government guide lines have recently said we need another 155 houses in Peacehaven but this greedy Mafia type company couldn't care less about the need for housing, only to fill their greedy pockets. Incidentally, another company has recently offered them 1.2 Billion pounds for a buy out!!! Please help us? Kind regards ***** ***** care? Mr Lionel Harwood

Hi Lionel,

Thank you for your query.  I am a Solicitor-Advocate in the UK and will be assisting you with your question today.

What would like to know about this?

Customer: replied 18 days ago.
We are very anxious to know if these 100 year old covenants would stand up in todays world and if we decided to say to St.ModwenPlc, the greedy company, you will be treated exactly the same as all the other plot holders insofar as any offer we receive will be equally divided between all the plot holders and you get nothing more, so you take us to court and pay for the very heavy legal costs if you think you're entitled to anything more. but of course we would be taking a hell of a risk doing it that way unless you could assure us we stand a very good chance of winning?


Unfortunately, Stokes v Cambridge is the only precedent available when relying in land values and the principle is 1 third. Using the same principle, they would be ae to dictate the fee.

If anyone wished to challenge this, it would be an application through the courts and this would mean escalating costs.

With reference to the covenants, these can only be removed by an application to the Lands Tribunal or consent of the party that has imposed the covenants or their successors in title.

I note your comments, however, you cannot compel a greedy land owner to sell or even grant a licence or lease.

I am sorry if this was not the answer you were expecting.

I hope this answers your question.  If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to ask.

Many thanks

Customer: replied 18 days ago.
Thank you for your help and sound advice but what are our chances if going through a Lands Tribunal? this seems extremely unfair that covenants made 100 years ago can have any strength in todays age?

Unfortunately, that is property law.

I would say your chances are 50/50. If the other party does not agree amicably, it could be a very expensive process with little certainty.

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