Covenants on former council houses
Most properties sold by the council will have covenants within the conveyance or transfer which the owner must observe and adhere to. Covenants are essentially a promise to do or not to do something on or to land or property; they stay with the land and as such the responsibility of complying with the covenants is passed from one owner to another. The use of covenants is common place and is good estate management practice and/or promotes the wider duties of the council as a land owner.
When the council sold its housing under the "right to buy" legislation (Housing Acts 1980 and 1985) to tenants it put certain covenants on the title, which may have included restrictions on:
- External alterations and extensions
- Alterations to front gardens
- Alterations to and replacement garden fences
- Business use
- Advertising posters
- Right of entry for maintenance of services
To find out if your home has restrictive covenants, look at the title documents dealing with the purchase or ask the solicitor who acted for you for advice.
Requesting a consent required under a covenant
Approval to consent to, remove or vary a restrictive covenant is separate from planning permission and building regulations approval.
The council only has the benefit of the covenant where is has retained land in the area. In most instances the remaining housing stock and land was transferred to in 1997 as part of the council's LSVT. In this instance it is Soha which must grant the consent.
Where the council does retain the benefit, it will consider any requests for consents on a case by case basis and residents are encouraged to apply for consent prior to any works or changes being undertaken; however, generally the council will grant retrospective consents if the works proposal are minor.
The council charges standard legal fees of £47.50 for dealing with covenant consents.
Please ensure you indicate on the application form if you wish to pay by cheque or by debit/credit card. Cheques should be enclosed with the application if being sent by post and made payable to “South Oxfordshire District Council” if applying by post. If you wish to pay by debit/credit card it’s important you provide a contact phone number so we can call you to take your payment details over the phone.
Please note: if paying by credit card, an automatic surcharge of 1.36% will be added to your transaction total. No surcharge will be applied to debit card payments.
Last reviewed: 22 - 09 - 2016