Covenants on land

There are two types of covenant:

  • Positive: requires something to be done, usually at a cost, e.g. 'to fence off an area of land';
  • Negative: a restriction on the land, e.g. 'not to use the land for any other purpose than a garden'.

The Council may impose a covenant to:

  • promote a form of development or land use;
  • to prevent uses that are considered detrimental to the locality, especially neighbouring Council owned property;
  • financially protect the Council, if land is disposed of for lower value uses.

How can the covenants be released or altered?

There are 2 main options available:

  • If the Council has the benefit of the covenant, you may approach the Council to discuss terms for a release or alteration, which will usually involve a payment
  • The Upper Tribunal (Land Chamber) has powers to amend or discharge covenants in certain circumstances. For further information, see Upper tribunal (Lands chamber)
Approaching the Council to discuss terms

Please contact the Council's Estates Manager. provide as much information as you can about the covenant and what you are proposing to do:

  • Username Estates Manager
  • Email
  • Telephone 01422 392129
  • Address
    Corporate Asset and Facilities Management
    Town Hall
    HX1 1TP
Is the covenant enforceable by the Council?

This is complex and you are advised to seek your own professional legal advice.

What is the process involved?

The case will be allocated to one of the Council's valuation surveyors and you will be contacted within 10 days. The legal position will be verified with the Council's Legal Services. The Council will give consideration as to whether the covenant should be amended or otherwise.

The Council has a legal duty to receive the best consideration reasonably obtainable for any property transaction. The Council's valuation surveyor will discuss your proposal with you to enable a suitable payment to be assessed of the consideration required by the Council to release or amend the covenant.

The Council will be seeking consideration based upon the increase in value of the land due to the release or alteration of the covenant.

You will also be responsible for the Council's legal and surveyors fees as well as your own.

What happens when terms are agreed?

A formal report is prepared to seek final approval and if recommended instructions will be submitted to the Council's Legal Services. Your solicitor will then be contacted to conclude matters.

What if I cannot agree terms? What other options are available?

The level of consideration may be determined independently by the District Valuer (Inland Revenue) although you will be responsible for these fees, payable in advance.

Alternatively, you may be able to take out an insurance or indemnity policy but again you should seek professional legal advice.

Always open first question: 

Important: Covenants are complex and can be very individual in nature. This information is not intended to provide any specific or detailed legal or property advice and should not be relied upon. This note is intended to provide general information regarding how the Council deals with covenants.

If you think your land may be affected by a covenant, you are strongly advised to seek your own professional legal and property advice.

See also