It is often found when undertaking the legal work on a purchase, that many houses in the area are subject to old restrictive covenants contained in old deeds. That was the case when Conveyancing Solicitor Elaine Fannon dealt with Conveyancing in Barnet for the buyer of a former local authority-owned home on Southfield, Barnet, EN5.
Sales details were received from the seller’s agents, Archers, of 9 High Street, Barnet, Herts EN5 5UE confirming the price agreed and giving details of the seller’s Property Lawyers who were Male and Wagland of 69 High Street, High Barnet, Herts EN5 5UR. They promptly sent Elaine a copy of the land registry’s title register together with a copy of a transfer referred to.
Checking the property title is a central part of Conveyancing in Barnet, and Elaine noted that this contained the following entries affecting the land:
“1 An Indenture of Covenant to Surrender dated 28 February 1900 made between (1) Edward Dyke Lee (2) Henry Lovejoy and (3) Sydney Hugo Nicholson contains the following covenant:-
"The said Sydney Hugo Nicholson hereby covenants with the said Edward Dyke Lee that he the said Sydney Hugo Nicholson will not carry on or permit to be carried on in or upon the land or premises hereby covenanted to be surrendered any trade or business that can be deemed noxious or disagreeable unwholesome or annoying to any person or persons living in the neighbourhood. "
“2 A Transfer of the land in this title and other land dated 24 January 1951 made between (1) Watney Combe Reid & Co. Limited and (2) The Urban District Council of Barnet contains the following covenants:-
"And the Council hereby covenant for itself and its successors in title and assigns with the Transferors and its successors in title and assigns for the benefit and protection of the Transferors adjoining land coloured pink on the said plan so as to bind the land hereby transferred into whosoever hands the same may come
(a) Not to use the land coloured yellow on the said plan or any part thereof otherwise than for road improvement purposes;
(b) Not to use the land coloured blue on the said plan or any part thereof otherwise than for housing purposes;
(c) Not to use the land coloured green on the said plan or any part thereof otherwise than for open space purposes;
(d) Not to use the land hereby transferred or any part thereof or any buildings erected or to be erected thereon for the trade or business of a wholesale and/or retail seller of beer, wines, spirits or intoxicating liquors other than those brewed by the Transferors.
NOTE: The land coloured blue referred to above comprised the land in this title. "
“3 A Transfer of the land in this title dated 5 February 1979 made between (1) The Mayor and Burgesses of The London Borough of Barnet and (2) Stanley Herbert Richard Ford and Lilian May Ford contains restrictive covenants.
NOTE: Original filed”
Restrictions like this are quite common. Their importance to Conveyancing Solicitors is that they continue to affect land despite any changes in ownership, so all subsequent owners will be bound to comply with them if someone else can enforce them. Since it is usually difficult to know who would be able to take any legal action to enforce such covenants, purchasers have to be informed of their existence.
Elaine duly sent her clients a copy of the title and the 1979 Transfer, and pointed out that these covenants were quite usual for a residential house of this type. The restriction imposed by Watneys in 1951 not to use the land for selling beer etc. , was standard for sales by a brewery company, but as the property being sold was a residential house it would not be of any significance.
The clients confirmed that they could not see they would have any problems with the restrictions, and were happy to proceed. Elaine therefore completed this Conveyancing in Barnet as soon as the mortgage offer had been issued.
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