Any case law on covenant preventing my use of a property as an HMO?

by Readers Question

3 years ago

Any case law on covenant preventing my use of a property as an HMO?

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Any case law on covenant preventing my use of a property as an HMO?

I am in the process of purchasing a property to use as a small (C4 use class) HMO. The Title deeds includes the following Covenant by the Transferee, “Not to use the property except as a single private dwelling house”.case law

That’s all it says in this respect. Does this covenant prevent the use of this property as a small HMO? There are lots of case law relating to similar covenant terms however they seem to relate more to the number of dwellings on a plot of land as opposed to use as a small HMO.

Is there any case law specific to my issue?

Rob



Comments

Lynne Davis

3 years ago

We had the same issue about 18 months ago. It was an ex-council house so the beneficiary of the covenant was the local council (Solihull). They actually wanted to encourage the creation of more HMOs, which may have influenced their view, but when we enquired about getting the covenant lifted they told us - and we made sure we got it in writing - that there was no need because, as a small HMO, it would still be a single private dwelling.

It's a grey area, though, and our experience is no guarantee that other councils / covenant beneficiaries will take the same view. If the covenant said "single family dwelling" then I suppose that would be a different matter again.

It's worth clarifying as any mortgage lender is likely to pick up on the covenant and question it.

We also got retrospective covenant consent for a couple of other items, namely altering the elevations (with an extension) and parking on the forecourt, but they were happy to grant this for a flat fee of £100.

Rob Crawford

3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Lynne Davis" at "05/09/2015 - 09:28":

Hi Lynne, thanks. I should have added that this is a freehold private residential property. The mortgage provider does not have any issues and it will be mortgaged as a licensed small HMO as this is it's intended use. My concern is the transferors intent of the statement that they have placed in the deeds. I am pondering as to ask them for their interpretation and probably will if this forum considers that my plans may be at risk. I am interpreting that the statement "Not to use the property except as a single private dwelling house” means that I cannot build another house on the land or divide the existing house into flats (accepting some case law that says otherwise). As a small HMO, i.e. renting out rooms with shared facilities (lounge/kitchen/bathrooms etc) it is still a single private dwelling.

Lynne Davis

3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Rob Crawford" at "05/09/2015 - 10:09":

Sounds sensible to me. Best to check with the beneficiary if you want to be sure.

Vivienne Lee

2 years ago

hi my HMO appears to have a covenant that states to be used as a private dwelling house ( the word single not used), the mortgage lender for my buyer is insisting i get written confirmation from my HMO licensing team that states they are ok with is covenant what is your view?
thanks
Vivienne

Colin McNulty

9 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Vivienne Lee at 08/10/2016 - 09:48
What was the outcome of this Vivienne?


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