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Covenant Approval

Why do I have to request permission from the council?

All properties and land (freehold and leasehold) sold by the council will have covenants within the Conveyance or Lease which the owner must observe and adhere to. Covenants are a promise to do or not to do something on or to land or property.

They stay with the land and as such the responsibility of complying with the covenants is passed from one owner to another. The use of covenants is commonplace and is good Estate Management practice and/or promotes the wider duties of the council as a land owner.

Approval to remove or vary a restrictive covenant is separate from planning permission and building regulations approval.

For change of use or minor alterations (such as erecting a porch or converting a front garden to a hardstanding area) to properties or land not acquired under Right to Buy (RTB) legislation and acquired under RTB legislation, a standard form of release is available free of charge, which you or your solicitor can use. A fee of £40 will be payable if a specifically addressed form of release is required.

For development activity involving building an extension or building a structure (such as a conservatory, garden shed or garage) in the garden of properties or land not acquired under RTB legislation and acquired under RTB legislation, a standard form of release is available free of charge, which you or your solicitor can use. A fee of £40 will be payable if a specifically addressed form of release is required.

For development activity involving the splitting of a plot or building on properties and land not acquired under RTB legislation, Legal fees of £250 and Surveyors fees of £250 are payable. If no overage was agreed on the original sale, then there is to be a consideration payable which is to be by negotiation based upon 30% of the uplift in the development value of the property or land. We realise that in some instances the consideration can be significant, and we are willing to delay collecting this until after a sale or development is complete. In these circumstances the council will seek to register a charge on your title for this sum.

For development activity involving the splitting of a plot or building on properties and land acquired under RTB legislation, a standard form of release is available free of charge, which you or your solicitor can use. A fee of £40 will be payable if a specifically addressed form of release is required.

If you are in any doubt you should seek independent legal advice.

How do I request a specifically addressed form of release?

Ideally you should complete an application form.

Alternatively you could write to us and include the following information:

  • the full postal address of the property concerned
  • details of the work you wish to undertake to the property
  • an address where correspondence can be sent, which could be an email address
  • fee of £40. Cheques should be made payable to ‘Borough of Poole’. For card payments please provide a daytime telephone number 

You should send this to:

Head of Estates, Corporate Estates, The Borough of Poole, Civic Centre, Poole, Dorset, BH15 2RU

Or email: estates@poole.gov.uk

We aim to provide the specifically addressed form of release within 10 working days of receipt of your application and payment. 

For development activity involving the splitting of a plot or building on properties and land not acquired under RTB legislation

How do I apply?

Ideally you should complete an application form.

Alternatively you could write to us and include the following information:

  • the full postal address of the property concerned
  • details of the work you wish to undertake to the property
  • an address where correspondence can be sent, which could be an email address
  • two copies of the approved plans of your proposals together with a copy of the planning consent. (We will download this from the planning portal if it is available there)
  • a copy of any building regulations consent you have obtained
  • payment of £250 Legal fees and £250 Surveyors fees. Cheques should be made payable to ‘Borough of Poole’. For card payments please provide a daytime telephone number

You should send this to:

Head of Estates, Corporate Estates, The Borough of Poole, Civic Centre, Poole, Dorset, BH15 2RU

Or email: estates@poole.gov.uk

What happens if I don't apply?

The covenant is generally in place for a reason and where we have not granted a release, variation or approval for works undertaken, the council could take action against you for breaching that covenant. This could mean additional costs to you if we ask for building works to cease, or be undone.

Because the restriction on your property stays with the land, any failure to get a Deed of Variation could affect your ability to sell. This is because the Solicitor acting on behalf of the purchaser will not allow the sale to go through without the necessary covenant consent being in place. If the sale went through without the covenant consent, the new owner would then be liable for obtaining the approval.

What happens once I have sent my request?

We have a target to acknowledge your letter or application form within 5 working days of receipt; we will tell you the name and telephone number of the officer dealing with your request. If you have provided us with only basic details and not sufficient for us to process your application, we will provide you with details of what we require.

Payment of our Legal fees (£250) and Surveyors fees (£250) are payable when making an application. Payment of the consideration is on completion of a Deed of Variation.

What will happen next?

Your request will be considered in line with the council’s policy detailed here. If we need additional information we will contact you to request this. Once we have all the information required we will send a report to the Head of Estates who will decide whether the council will agree to your request or not. We aim to provide you with a decision within 4 weeks of receipt of your application and payment of fees.

What happens once a decision is made?

We will notify you of the decision by letter. If the decision is not to agree to your request we will explain why. Details of what you can do next can be found below.

If the council’s decision is to agree to your request we will write to you detailing the specifics of the approval. This will need to be documented by a Deed of Variation.

Can I appeal?

Yes, you must make your appeal in writing within 28 days of the date of the decision letter and supply additional information/evidence to support your appeal.

Where the appeal is in respect of how the council’s policy has been applied, the Head of Estates will investigate the case and respond. Appeals against decisions will be considered by the Corporate Property Officer whose decision is final.

We aim to acknowledge your appeal within 5 working days of receipt and to provide an appeal decision within 4 weeks of receipt of your appeal.

All this seems very complicated and to take a long time. Is there no easier way?

I'm afraid not. All land and property sold by the council will be subject to restrictive covenants; the use of covenants is common place and is good Estate Management practice and/or promotes the wider duties of the council as a land owner. The council has to have a consistent and objective way of dealing with enquiries to ensure decisions are fair and transparent. We will endeavour to make decisions as quickly as possible within the timescales set out above.