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Wording of covenants


Veggielover

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I am in the process of downsizing and am looking for suitable properties with sufficient space for parking a 6 metre motorhome within the curtilage. Two properties that would otherwise be okay apparently have covenants prohibiting the parking of boats or caravans. Does anyone have the legal expertise to advise whether a MH could conceiveably fall foul of such a covenant please?

 

I thought I had seen a discussion recently on this subject but despite searching cannot find it.

 

Thanks in advance. :-D

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A lot depends on who instigated and who now 'owns' the restrictive covenant. If you can find out who it is you or your solicitor can speak to them and find out what they now think about motorhome and/or caravan parking.

 

We have three times come across this problem and it is a real pain in the bum when trying to buy a place with enough parking for a motorhome and two cars!

 

First time the covenant was owned by the farmer who originally sold the land to the developer/builder. Our solicitor (local) knew who he was so we went and saw him and explained what we wanted to do. He was as good as gold saying that it was only intended to stop residential type caravans being used as extensions to the houses and he was happy to give us a letter enabling us and our successors in title to be able to park a motorhome or touring caravan up to 25 feet long on the property as long as it was not used to sleep in for more than seven consecutive nights in any one year. Job done.

 

Second time it was owned by someone who had long since died and nobody had a clue who, if anyone, would either wish to or be able to enforce such a covenant so our solicitor negotiated an insurance based indemnity to cover any potential costs in fighting any attempts to enforce the covenant which the seller would pay for. Whilst I was not totally happy with this the solicitor seemed to think that the mere fact that we had funds available to fight the covenant would defer any attempt at enforcement. In the end there were other issues with the house and we decided against it.

 

Third time the house was on a large estate and the covenant was owned by the developer with no chance of any relief or tolerance - so we went elsewhere!

 

If you can get a covenant rescinded or an individual written relief from do make sure it is in perpetuity as it certainly makes the property more saleable when moving on time comes.

 

I'm not a lawyer and this represents my experience only and is in no way given as legal advice, as covenants can be overcome sometimes if you get the right help and advice - but not always!

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There is another potential snag, in my experience on most modern estates, which is that the covenants are not just between seller and buyer, but also with all other owners of property on the same development. This means the developer cannot give an exemption, or interpretation, because he would have to gain the agreement of all those who had already bought/paid deposits, doubtless meeting either total resistance or demands for compensation. It also means any other buyer is entitled entitled to initiate proceedings for breach. Estate agents and developers' sales offices seldom, again in my experience, have samples of the covenants for inspection - which hardly helps. One needs to know to be sure.

 

We encountered one where the covenant restricted the parking of any "leisure vehicle" (defined as caravan, boat, motorhome etc) "anywhere within the curtilage", where the definition of the curtilage included the garage. So, even out of sight within one's own garage (quite possible for a small caravan, for example), would breach the covenant as written. When we pointed this out, we were advised it was probably unenforceable! :-) Who drafted that!

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It is a bit of a grey area. It also depends on what part of the UK you live in. Covenants are legally enforceable documents and should be considered in total before trying to avoid them. They are usually made to prevent residential areas being transformed by unscrupulous owners into businesses of any sort. This means the restriction on commercial vehicles, caravans et al are to prevent 'Arthur Daly' types setting up shop or selling used cars which I am sure you would feel is not something you wish to see near your expensively bought property.......unless you are Arthur Daly of course. The other restriction usually involves farm animals which unless you are happy to see a flock of sheep in the street is probably also a good thing.

 

While you may feel not being able to park your motorhome is unneccesarily restrictive, it does stop the arrival of umpteen Transit vans all offering to tarmac drives etc.

 

If you do breach a Covenant and do get taken to Court then you pay all the costs, which can be high. I know we live in a modern world where anything goes but beware as it may bite you back.

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is the original builder still in business, if not your ok. i have the same problem. motorhomes have been around for a long time now and if it was meant to be no motorhomes it would be listed along side caravan in the deeds.

 

i posted similar thread here a few weeks ago here which is worth a read

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duetto owner - 2013-06-09 7:27 AM

 

is the original builder still in business, if not your ok. i have the same problem. motorhomes have been around for a long time now and if it was meant to be no motorhomes it would be listed along side caravan in the deeds.

 

i posted similar thread here a few weeks ago here which is worth a read

 

That may well be so but even if the original owner of the covenant is longer 'available' their successors in title or anyone else who may feel aggrieved or just vindictive could take up a legal challenge if you ignored a covenant and it all comes down to how much hassle and cost do you want to risk in order to live your own lifestyle in your own home - do you feel lucky?

 

Unless you can get a written dispensation from the owner from the terms of the covenant better methinks to walk away and live somewhere covenant free?

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Again you need to read it carefully. Some Covenants were imposed on the builder by the local Council who will most definitely still be around. You also need to ascertain if it applies just to your property or others as well. In my case for example the Covenant applies to 36 homes, anyone of whom can legally challenge a situation where they feel it has been contravened. One owner did indeed park a motorhome on his drive but was advised to remove it or face legal action. He blustered but did in the end remove it as the costs would have been high.

 

I accept some feel motorhomes are not antisocial but they are not cars, they are invariably significantly larger and are noticeable regardless. Homes are usually built to accomodate cars only. I also accept some may argue 'what about the 3 car family with no front garden anymore, but although an issue for discussion, it is not likely to be in a Covenant. Possibly finding a home remote enough is the answer and do what you like.

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