When acting for buyers of former council houses, Bradford Conveyancing Solicitors usually find that the title contains numerous rights and covenants affecting the property. That was certainly the case when Property Lawyer Fayruz Cahill acted for the buyers of an ex-council property on Moor Lane, Addingham, LS29 in Bradford Metropolitan District.
The sale of this house had been arranged by agents Dale Eddison of 15 The Grove, Ilkley, LS29 9LW.
Council properties usually form part of large estates, and when individual houses are sold, buyers will usually need to be able to enjoy legal rights of access over land which the council retains, such as paths or roads which are not adopted highways. Rights will also be needed to use any shared drains and possibly other services. Such legal rights are known to Property Lawyers as easements, but it is not possible for a landowner to have an easement over his own property. If a landowner uses a path or drains on his land these are known to lawyers as quasi-easements. When part of a larger area of land is sold, a buyer is not automatically entitled to use any such quasi-easements even if they would benefit the land acquired, so they should be specifically set out in the transfer deed.
To avoid problems if council sales did not include all the necessary rights and easements, the current legislation empowering local authorities to sell council homes contain provisions whereby rights are implied even if they are not fully mentioned. Many transfers of council houses nevertheless set out rights in some detail. Often specific rights are required, such as the right to use a path shared with a neighbouring property, and that was the case with the house that Fayruz’s clients were buying. A copy of the land registry title was received from the sellers’ Conveyancing Solicitors, Savage Crangle of 15 High Street, Skipton, BD23 1AJ, which included the following:
The land has the benefit of the following rights granted by but is subject to the following rights reserved by the Conveyance dated 31 July 1972 referred to in the Charges Register:-
"TOGETHER with the . . . . . . . . . rights specified in the First Schedule hereto EXCEPTING nevertheless and RESERVING in fee simple unto the Council and its successors in title the owner or owners for the time being of the land intended to be benefited thereby the rights specified in the Second Schedule hereto
THE FIRST SCHEDULE above referred to:
2. The right for the Purchasers and other the owner or occupiers for the time being of the property hereby conveyed to use for all reasonable purposes (in common with the Council and the owners and occupiers of other property comprised in the said Housing Estate) all drains sewers surface water pipes gas water and other pipes and electric cables laid thereon or thereunder so far as the Council are able to grant the same in relation to the apparatus of statutory undertakings Subject to payment of a proportionate part of the cost of maintaining and repairing the same
THE SECOND SCHEDULE above referred to:
2. All rights of drainage as now enjoyed through such of the eaves troughs and downspouts now serving the dwelling house hereby conveyed and the said adjoining dwelling house . . . . as are attached to the property hereby conveyed the Purchasers being responsible for maintaining and repairing the said eaves troughs and downspouts
3. The right for the Council and other the owner or owners for the time being of all other lands comprised in the said Housing Estate to use for all reasonable purposes (in common with the Purchasers) all drains sewers surface water pipes gas water and other pipes and electric cables laid on or under the land hereby conveyed Subject to payment of a proportionate part of the cost of maintaining and repairing the same
4. Any right of light or air over any land forming part of the said Housing Estate which is adjacent or neighbouring to the property hereby conveyed
5. A right of way on foot only at all times and for all purposes over and along the footpath between the points marked A B and C on the said plan as a means of access to the said adjoining dwelling house numbered . . . . Moor Lane aforesaid Subject to payment of a one half part of the cost of maintaining and repairing the same".
“The Conveyance dated 31 July 1972 referred to above contains the following provision:-
"IT is hereby agreed and declared that the wall separating the dwelling house hereby conveyed from the adjoining dwelling house number . . . . Moor Lane aforesaid including the chimney stack over the said wall is and shall for ever hereafter remain and be a joint and party wall severed vertically in accordance with Section 38(1) of the Law of Property Act 1925 and shall be usable and maintainable in equal shares by the owners and occupiers for the time being of the dwelling houses respectively separated thereby" 4 (16. 01. 2002) By a Deed dated 8 January 2002 made between (1) Stuart Brendon Dennis and Samantha Jane Dennis and (2) Graham Malcolm De'Ath and Trudi Ann De'Ath the right of way referred to in clause 5 of the Conveyance dated 31 July 1972 referred to above was expressed to be released. The said Deed also grants a right of way in favour of . . . . Moor Lane as therein mentioned. ”
As no copy of the plan referred to was supplied, Fayruz asked the other side's Conveyancing Solicitors to supply a copy. This clarified the position of the shared path. The various rights granted and reserved were entirely appropriate for the property, and the title was perfectly satisfactory, so Fayruz was able to report to the clients and obtain their signatures to the contract and transfer deeds. Completion was arranged as soon as the client’s mortgage offer was received, and the buyers were very happy with both this Bradford Conveyancing and their new home.