Alison Fielden & Co January 2020
The Importance of the terms in a Property Transfer (Don’t assume- check carefully)
When a property is built and first sold, the original sellers or developers will usually produce a Transfer document. This document is executed by both the buyers and the sellers and gives the terms under which the owners of the property are to own it and the requirements concerning their behaviour and occupation during this time.
Within this document there will be a list of rights that are granted in favour of the owners, and rights that are kept by the original sellers and given to the neighbours of adjoining homes. These rights will usually deal with access to the property, the rights of pipes and drains bringing the services to the property and often the right to enter onto a neighbouring property to repair your property (provided notice is given to the neighbour). If there is a private accessway to the property or to the rear, rights to use this will also be outlined here.
In addition to the rights granted and reserved, there will be a list of do’s and don’ts on the property, which are imposed by the original developer/seller on the first owner of the property and these obligations are passed to each subsequent owner. The rights need to be complied with during each buyers’ occupation of the property.
It is always recommended that you, as the owner of your property, check the Transfer deed in order to make yourself aware of these clauses, as when you come to sell the property you are likely to be asked for confirmation that you have complied with these requirements/covenants.
There are a number of ‘standard’ clauses that appear in the vast majority of Transfers and a selection of them are as follows:
- The property will be required to be used a single residence. No business is permitted to be carried on from the property.
- No caravans, trailers or business vehicles are to be parked on the property.
- No alterations or extensions to be permitted at the property without the written permission of the original developer.
- Pathways and roads in the estate are not to be obstructed.
- If there is a private driveway or access, you will be required to contribute a fair amount towards its maintenance and upkeep.
- It is often noted that the property is not allowed to have a satellite dish on the front elevation.
- There is often a clause in the Transfer regarding the ownership of pets, with either automatic permission for domestic animals, or a statement that permission is required from the developer.
Leasehold flats will have extensive clauses as well, with some specific ones for flats, particularly an embargo on noise during night time hours, a prohibition on the hanging of washing, and a requirement to keep all the communal areas clear and unobstructed. The Lease will also have provisions regarding sub-letting.
These are put in place by the developers in order that they can have some control over the appearance of the estate, as they are often still trying to sell properties whilst people are already in residence. If any consent is required from the developer/original seller, there will be an administration charge made for the provision of this consent.
With much older properties, there are often covenants or requirements that are simply not able to be enforced. Some that have been noted related to the permitted keeping of pigs and the use of the property as a pub or a seller of intoxicating products!
If any of these covenants are breached or not complied with, then there is the possibility that the owner of the property is formally asked to rectify the situation. If this comes up at the point that the property is being sold, there is the option of providing an insurance policy to the new buyers to resolve the issue, though it is important not to make any formal approach to any official body about the breach, as this would negate any insurance policy.
The advice is always to check the do’s and don’ts on the property and ensure that you are either complying with them, or that you can easily ensure that any breach is corrected if you are required to do so. If you have any questions or queries about these requirements it is advisable to ask your solicitor for clarification and assistance.
Please contact Philip Stephens or Alison Fielden at Alison Fielden & Co on 01225 653261 for advice.