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What are covenants?

Where there is a ground rent or a rentcharge on a property, it is likely that there will be covenants restricting the use of the property. These were agreed at the time of the grant of the lease or when the rentcharge was created and were designed to protect the interests of the landlord or neighbours. If a tenant wishes to breach a covenant, permission must be sought from the landlord. If a covenant has already been breached the tenant may be liable to restore the property to a its pre-breach state or pay compensation.

The individual covenants affecting the property will be contained in the counterpart lease or rentcharge deed. It is essential to check the covenants and seek the relevant permissions before starting any development of a site, likewise before extending or improving a house. They may include covenants affecting the use of the property (as a pub or shop for example).

The law relating to covenants is complex. You should always seek advice from your solicitor.