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Ask Clare Your Own Question
Clare, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 34885
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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I wonder if anyone has had a similar issue to mine. I own the

Customer Question

I wonder if anyone has had a similar issue to mine. I own the freehold of a house and live in it 50% of the time. The other 50% i reside over sea's. I purchased the my uk home in 1998 and moved oversea's for work 4 years later. The portion of the time i am not in the uk i have been renting my home for short holiday lets i have never had any complaints from neighbors until this august when an unauthorized party took place and caused a lot of nuisance and noise. 2 of 7 neighbors have now decided to stop holiday lettings as a result. I received a solicitors letter instructing me to conform to a covenant in my title deed which says that i can only rent to a single family and to use the property for residential purposes. Not to do anything which causes noise or nuisance to the neighbors. One of the neighbors is the developer . The covenants were formed through his company but he resides next to me in one of the homes he developed.
His solicitor is saying that there is a case law called cardamon district council v patton and bissell [ 2001] i.e. 14 years ago.
i am being asked to cease holiday lettings immediately, only permit my house to be used as a private residence in the occupation of one household and only let for a minimum of 6 months otherwise i will face court proceedings.
Does anyone know if there was any other case after the cardamon council case? Does anyone know if a law has been made on what constitutes permanence re a dwelling house - is it 6 months ? Is there a way to check if a covenant is legal and valid?
The whole situation is very confusing because i only let to families [ usually families displaced from their homes for fire,property damage , re construction ] through insurance companies and families on holiday in my area. Historically lets have ranged from a weekend to 3 months. I have never let to anyone conducting a business in the house. I tried to apply for business rates on the basis that i let out my second home and i don't qualify so i am not recognized as a business re the holiday lettings side of things. The other perplexing thing is that the 2 neighbors that have been disturbed have always known that my property was let short term when i was not residing in it myself and this has been the case 2002. How can they suddenly without warning try to enforce a covenant that they have been aware of? I have so many bookings which i am obligated to honor ..... if anyone can guide me to a solicitor / specialist or give advise i would be very grateful.Thank you and sorry for lengthy explanation .
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your question
My name is ***** ***** I shall do my best to help you
I am afraid that the case you quote remains the leading case on the matter - details here
The fact that there was no previous objection MAY be leverage to ask that all lets booked prior to the date of the first letter you received regarding the matter
I am sorry not to offer any more encouraging news
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for your confirmation and answer.

I just got a report back this morning informing me that the covenants

on my title deeds cannot be enforced by the neighbors. They have no legal entitlement to enforce them .

My question now is- if its unlawful to short let - WHO can enforce ? I am being told i need to apply to he land tribunal to be able to continue short lettings. The only person that does have the benefit of enforcing the covenants owns a piece of land locked land at the back of my garden which has no dwelling and hasn't been used for 18 years.

My second question is : Can a letting of 2 or 3 months be considered

commercial .is there a law that says it must be 6 months?

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Just to check - I believe the original developer is also one of the neighbours - is that correct?
Does the report say WHY the Covenants are not enforceable - which wording was not included?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes the developer is also neighbor. The report says both the developer and one other neighbor- the ones wanting to take action - cannot enforce because they are not beneficiaries of the covenants.I purchased my house last and for them to have entitlement a separate covenant would have been made and retained but it wasn't.It wasn't a lack of wording , it was a lack of documents and because i purchased last. When i purchased the developer accepted an offer of 10 thousand less in exchange for 2/3rds of my garden- which he said i could buy later for 10 thousand.2 years later i had saved the 10 thousand but he put the price up to 30 thousand which i never managed to save and therefore the only entity able to enforce covenants is the owner of that piece of land at back of my garden [ its in developers name ] because that was put in his name AFTER i purchased...however he has no access to the land...its landlocked....he would have to come through my house. The report also says that there is no information about who sold the developer the back 2/3 rds of my garden...there's no documents/lack of info .The report says that a piece of landlocked land/ owner cannot object to short lets because it does not interfere with land.

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Who produced that report?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

My cousin is a usa property lawyer and she searched but she practices usa law although she is british so that is why i am double checking and still searching for answers.

Please would you be able to answer:

1. Who can enforce if the neighbors cant?

2. how much does it cost to process application through tribunal

3. What are success rates for me to continue short lets

4. Is there a law precedence about 6 months or more being residential and no shorter term applies?

My home is not rented as much as the 140 days per year req. to pay business instead of council tax rates .

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
For clarity - it is your cousin who completed the report based on her research?
I think it would be best if you let me have the wording of the covenant
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Covenant says house must be used as a single dwelling in the occupation of one household. But does that matter now that it is established that the covenant benefits no one?

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
The explanation of why it is not valid does not entirely make sense I am afraid - hence my wish to know the full wording - not just the highlights