Can A Neighbour Enforce A Restrictive Covenant?

can a neighbour enforce a restrictive covenant

What is a restrictive covenant?


A restrictive covenant is a legal condition that restricts the actions of the party bound by the restrictive covenant. In the context of property, title deeds or contractual documents affecting the property will often contain covenants restricting acts such as building work and even the right of access to a property.

Ignoring or breaching a restrictive covenant can result in costly consequences, such as having any work performed in breach of covenant undine so that the property is restored to its previous condition. If the restrictive covenant is successfully enforced by a neighbour through the courts, often the party in breach will also have to meet the innocent party’s legal costs.

It is important to remember that restrictive covenants will usually ‘run with the land’, that is, they attach to the property and will therefore bind whoever owns the property at the time. This means it is important to check if any land or property you are looking to purchase is either burdened by a covenant, or you will become a person with the benefit of a covenant, enabling you to enforce restrictions.

At South Bank Legal, our expert restrictive covenant solicitors have many years of experience and possess insightful industry knowledge on the tactics used to both enforce restrictive covenants and defend enforcement action. If you are seeking legal advice on the enforceability or a restrictive covenant, please feel free to contact us for an initial discussion.


Typical types of property restrictive covenants


A restrictive covenant on property can typically restrict the property owner from:

  • Building an extension on the land
  • Building a certain type
  • Erecting fences beyond a certain height
  • Housing of animals on a property
  • Running a business from the property

Providing that a restrictive covenant is drafted correctly and appropriately, it can effectively restrict the acts of property owners whilst also maintaining the standards and integrity of property development in a neighbourhood. It is also worth noting that planning permission does not override a restrictive covenant.


Can a neighbour enforce a restrictive covenant?


So, can a neighbour enforce a restrictive covenant? A neighbour can enforce a restrictive covenant only if they are the landowner and therefore the person entitled to the benefit of the covenant.

A restrictive covenant benefits landowners and property owners as they are the ones who can enforce a breach in restrictive covenant, due to the affect on them of any breach, as Section 78 of the Law of Property Act 1925. Persons entitled to enforce the restrictive can take legal action against a neighbour who refuses to comply.

If you own a property or a piece of land that is burdened by a restrictive covenant and are unsure of your rights to challenge it, then it is always advisable to seek professional help from a qualified solicitor in this specialist area.


What happens if you do not comply?


If you are burdened by a restrictive covenant on your land or property and you refuse to comply with the restrictions and breach the covenant, then it will leave you open to legal action from the party that can enforce the covenant.

The enforcing party can initiate court proceedings and if they are successful in their enforcement of the restrictive covenant then you as the burdened party will be ordered to undo any works you may have undertaken to trigger the enforcement of the covenant, as well as be ordered to pay legal fees.

It is also worth noting that you are able to purchase Restrictive Covenant Indemnity Insurance which can provide you with cover for any potential breaches to be known or unknown restricitve covenants.


How can South Bank Legal assist?


A neighbour enforcing a restrictive covenant can be a complicated process and typically requires professional input and assistance. At South Bank Legal, our team of solicitors and legal professionals are highly experienced in the area of restrictive covenants and can confidently assist you on your case.

Our solicitors understand how disruptive and overwhelming legal proceedings and investigations can be, and work tirelessly to provide our clients with timely and cost-effective legal advice.

We are authorised and regulated by the Solicitor’s Regulation Authority (SRA) for solicitors registered in England and Wales.

If you require advice on the matters discussed above surrounding the topic of restrictive covenants and whether neighbours can enforce them, then please contact South Bank Legal today for a confidential discussion on how we can best help you. We can be contacted via the contact form below, by email at or telephone on 0203 1266 584.

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