Old covenants cause amusement on Conveyancing in Bradford

It is common when undertaking Conveyancing in Bradford for Conveyancing Solicitors to find that homes are subject to restrictions contained in old deeds. These may be of little or no relevance nowadays, but it is sometimes interesting to see the sort of things that landowners thought were objectionable a hundred or more years ago.

In the middle of  2010 Conveyancer Joanne Yamat was carrying out the Conveyancing in Bradford for the owners of a terraced cottage on Rossefield Road, Bradford, West Yorkshire, BD9. She downloaded a copy of the registered title from the land registry’s e-portal and sent this with the draft contract to the buyers’ Conveyancing Solicitors Simpson Duxbury at 2 Tyrrel Street, Bradford, West Yorkshire BD1 1RJ.

When they sent some additional enquiries about the property, they asked the vendors to confirm that there were no breaches of the covenants set out in the title entries. Joanne sent a copy of these to her clients, and they were interested to see that the land on which their home stood had once been owned by an Earl.

Covenants of this type are often imposed when landowners sell land for development, and are intended to ensure that homes built on the land conform to certain standards and are not used for any unpleasant trade or business. This was of course long before the advent of modern planning legislation.

Conveyancing in Bradford circa 1900

This is an extract from the title:

“A Conveyance of the land in this title and other land dated 23 August 1900 made between (1) The Right Honourable Lawrence Earl of Rosse (2) The Honourable, Reverend Randal Parsons and The Honourable Charles Algernon Parsons and (3) Arthur Richardson (Purchaser) contains covenants details of which are set out in the schedule of restrictive covenants hereto.

Covenant by the Purchaser for himself and his assigns to the intent that the covenants thereinafter contained should be binding on the premises thereby conveyed into whosoever hands the same might come with the said present Earl and his heirs and his and their successors in title owner or owners for the time being of the estates standing limited to the uses of the said Indentures of Settlement and Resettlement respectively in manner following that was to say:

Would not without the consent in writing of the said present Earl or his successors in title build or erect any building or erection so as to project into or overhang the portion of the said plot of land thereby assured lying between the building lines shown on the said plan and the said streets or roads shown thereon save porches porticoes bay windows and other usual architectural ornaments or dressings

And would not use any erection or building to be erected on the said plot of land for any other purpose than as private dwelling houses and the outbuildings and offices necessary to be used therewith and should not erect more than 4 dwelling houses with the necessary outbuildings on the said plot of land

And would not make any such dwelling houses more than two storeys in height exclusive of cellars and attics

And that the rental value of each such dwelling houses including the outbuildings and offices in connection therewith should not be less than £14 per annum

And also would not put out or make any openings lights or windows in any building or wall to be erected upon the said plot of land so as to look or open immediately on the adjoining property of the said present Earl or his successors

And would on or before the 1st day of October 1900 make or erect a substantial wall or fence along the west side of the said plot of land such wall or fence to be of one uniform height from the surface of the ground whereon the same should be erected and to be not less than 5 feet high

And also that the purchaser would at all times thereafter keep such wall or fence in good repair and if he should fail or neglect to erect any such wall or fence within the time aforesaid or to repair the same within 10 days after a written notice signed by the said Surveyor or Agent requiring him so to do should have been given to him or left on the said plot of land the said present Earl or his successors in title should be at liberty to erect replace repair or maintain such wall or fence and the Purchaser his heirs executors administrators or assigns would on demand pay to the said present Earl or his successors or as he or they should direct the cost incurred by him or them in so doing

And also that the Purchaser would not quarry at one or make or burn any bricks or erect any temporary building on the said plot of land

And also that all buildings and walls fronting to any Road or Street should be faced in front thereof with newly quarried stone and of coursed outsides to Rossefield Road

And also that no noxious or offensive trade or business should be carried on in or upon the said plot of land or in or upon any building which might be erected thereon

NOTE: The building line referred to is set back 12 feet from Rossefield Road. ”

The clients were interested to note that a reasonable yearly rent for the property in 1900 would have been just £14, and they were happy to confirm that there were no breaches of any of these covenants.

Once the buyers were reassured that the Earl (or even his successors) would not be taking any enforcement action this Conveyancing in Bradford was completed without further delay.