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
  • Parking
  • Business use
  • Pets
  • Hobbies
  • Letting
  • 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 Soha Housing Soha This link will take you to an external website... in 1997 as part of the council's LSVT.  In this instance it is usually Soha who should grant 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.

Applicants should complete the application form in the download section of this page and send it along with any supporting documentation to

Fees for dealing with consents/the removal of restrictions may vary depending on the complexity of the matter.  Please consult the property team in the first instance.

Properties sold by Soha Housing after 1997

Owners of properties sold by Soha Soha This link will take you to an external website... after 1997 should contact the housing association directly.  The council does not have the benefit of any covenants imposed by Soha.

Last reviewed: 12 - 04 - 2019

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