fbpx

Restrictions on Property Use Can Be Limited by Human Lifespans

23rd July 2021 By

Restrictions on the use to which properties can be put often lurk in old title deeds. As one case showed, however, some of them only endure as long as a human lifetime whilst others have no such shelf life and continue to have effect indefinitely.

The case concerned a covenant in a 1961 conveyance that placed restrictions on the purchasers of a building plot on which a bungalow was later erected. It forbade them from constructing any other building on the plot, and from making alterations to the bungalow’s external appearance, without first submitting detailed plans and specifications to a surveyor appointed by the three original vendors.

No such works were permitted to commence without the surveyor’s prior approval and it was some measure of the antiquity of the covenant that the purchasers were required to pay a fee of two guineas for the surveyor’s services.

The bungalow’s current owners applied to the Upper Tribunal (UT) for the restrictions to be discharged. Their application was, however, resisted by a property company that managed a large neighbouring house which had been converted into flats. Both the house and the land on which the bungalow was built were in common ownership prior to 1961.

The owners argued that the restrictions became obsolete on the death of the last of the original vendors. They presented probate records and photos of graveyard memorials to establish that that event occurred in 1991. They contended that the restrictions had automatically lapsed in that there was no one left alive who could appoint a surveyor to exercise the power of prior approval.

The company, however, maintained that the restrictions were as relevant today as they were in 1961. Although the covenant did not explicitly provide that the benefit of the restrictions would pass to the vendors’ successors in title, it also did not state that they would cease to have effect when the last of them died.

Ruling in the owners’ favour, the UT found that all the evidence – including the fact that the surveyor’s fixed fee had no regard for the effects of inflation – pointed to the restrictions being time limited to the lifetimes of the vendors. Having ruled the restrictions obsolete, the UT exercised its power under Section 84(1)(a) of the Law of Property Act 1925 to discharge them.

Source: Concious

Latest News

Award That Requires Borrowing Made Into Court Order

17th May, 2024 By

Disagreements between separating couples all too often result in litigation that substantially reduces the assets available to them, as was illustrated by a case that recently reached the High Court. At issue was whether awards made by arbitrators in financial remedy proceedings can be made into court orders even if that would require one of the parties to borrow money. The couple had previously had a relationship lasting a few years before resuming their relationship in 2015. They had two children before separating again in 2019. Following their separation, the...

Inheritance Disputes – Costs Risks Can Be Reduced

15th May, 2024 By

Arguments about what someone promised before their death can lead to significant legal costs. However, if faced with a claim against the estate, there may be steps the beneficiaries or executors can take to reduce the risks, as a recent High Court case illustrated. A man had left a farmhouse and agricultural land in Cornwall to his wife, with whom he had also jointly owned a neighbouring area of land. After his death, one of the couple's daughters and her husband claimed that he had told them he wanted them...

Share Rounding Error Does Not Prevent CGT Relief

13th May, 2024 By

There are often very specific rules that must be complied with in order to claim tax reliefs, but if a small mistake arises, the courts may be able to provide assistance. In a recent case, the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) found that an investor was entitled to Entrepreneurs' Relief on the disposal of his shares in a company, despite owning one share fewer than he needed to qualify for it. The investor had agreed to purchase 5 per cent of the shares in the company for £500,000. He wished to own...

Wife Entitled to Maintenance Until Sale of Family Home

10th May, 2024 By

When divorcing couples disagree on how assets should be divided, the courts will seek to arrive at a fair outcome for both parties. In deciding how the proceeds of sale of a former couple's home should be apportioned, the Family Court agreed with the wife that she should receive maintenance payments until the sale took place. The couple had married in 2006. Following a brief separation, they had reconciled for two years before finally separating in 2022. The husband and wife both contended that they should be entitled to about...