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wingrovebuyer, Senior Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 737
Experience:  Bachelor of Laws (Honours); PG Diploma in Law; Member of ALA; 9 years' experience
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I own some land with a redundant barn on it. I am being threatened with injunction by my n

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I own some land with a redundant barn on it. I am being threatened with injunction by my neighbour who claims that I will be breaching a covenant "not to carry on any trade or business on the Property other than for agricultural or horticultural use" by developing it as a single dwelling. I have detailed planning consent. I have had legal advice that the proposed residential development is not a breach, but the fact that the threat exists is affecting my ability to proceed. I would prefer not to go to the Lands Tribunal, as I don't (I believe) need to modify the covenant and it is time-consuming and expensive. There is no "practical benefit" to the neighbour other than the ability to capture value, which can no longer be viewed as such, I understand. He has asked for £75k and I have offered £5k to withdraw the claim. If the offer is rejected, should I just proceed and let him attempt (and I presume fail) to obtain an injunction? This seems the cheapest and quickest way for me to resolv
Hello. Assuming the neighbour indeed has the benefit of the covenant, your Counsel is right - a recent case at the Property Tribunal does establish a general rule that restrictive covenants must confer a material benefit on the neighbour and / or his land. The ability to extract cash (and nothing else) is not considered a material benefit. Accordingly, your offer of £5k is about fair, because that is approximately what it would cost to go to the Tribunal to have the covenant modified or extinguished. However, that would also take time. you may therefore see a benefit in increasing your offer a little, say to £7,500, but saying that if that is not accepted, you will go to the Tribunal. I expect this has just reiterated the advice you've already had - but hopefully that is what you wanted! Best, WB
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Many thanks for your response. I was just concerned that, if I go to Tribunal, the covenant doesn't actually need to be modified. Does the Tribunal have the power to "clarify" it - i.e. to verify that residential development is not restricted by the covenant.
Also, what were your thoughts on just ploughing on and calling their bluff?