Covenant on my land - build a tree house?

Covenant on my land - build a tree house?

Postby peter_964rs » Tue Sep 22, 2015 8:18 am

I have an orchard area that is on a steep slope and a separate title to the main house that has the following restrictive covenants:

2. The Transferees covenant not to erect any permanent structures
of any kind upon the Property.
3. The Transferees covenant not to erect any temporary structures
of any kind within five metres of the boundary marked A-B
4. Subject to clause 3 above the Transferees covenant that any
structures erected on the remaining area of land will not exceed
four metres in height."

I have a large Cedar that is a perfect candidate for a tree house. It is ~30m from the boundary and I will be careful to construct it so that it is not more than 4m in height as measured from the lowest point on the slope and including height above ground level. There will be no foundations so is it a temporary structure and am I OK?

Thanks in advance for your replies.
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Re: Covenant on my land - build a tree house?

Postby Collaborate » Tue Sep 22, 2015 9:30 am

I'd say it's a temporary structure, but you can get some tree houses that would struggle to fit that definition.

The treehouse here http://www.treehouseandsummerhouse.co.u ... s-for-kids I imagine would be classed as temporary. The ones here http://hhomedesign.com/?p=12238 I would say most definitely not.

If it looks like a shed and it's for the kids then I'd say it's temporary. There's a grey area in between. You'd take a risk. But there would have to be a nearby landowner who is proximate enough to be affected by the development to be capable of enforcing it. Who has the benefit of the covenant? What date was the covenant entered in to?
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Re: Covenant on my land - build a tree house?

Postby arborlad » Tue Sep 22, 2015 9:59 am

arborlad

smile...it confuses people
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Re: Covenant on my land - build a tree house?

Postby MacadamB53 » Tue Sep 22, 2015 10:32 am

Hi peter,

you're absolutely fine - get the treehouse built.

if the owner of the property which benefits from the covenant comes a-knocking you can explain that they would need to spend a fair sum taking it through the courts and, if successful, would only receive compensation to cover the approximate loss in market value the treehouse has caused to their property (ie nominal and probably less than they'd have spent...).

alternatively, you could just apologise and take the treehouse down.

(I assume your building a child's treehouse?)

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: Covenant on my land - build a tree house?

Postby peter_964rs » Tue Sep 22, 2015 12:27 pm

Hi - thanks for the comments.

In fact I have a holiday let which is an annexe I have at the side of my property and my wife and I thought we would take the opportunity (as we are having to landscape and attempt to recover the overgrown orchard) to see if we could make a treehouse and let it out to adventurous types! I have neighbours doing excellent business with a simple yurt on their grounds and the treehouse would be rather stunning as we are high up with excellent views over a river.

Given that is the case, might the covenant be more of a problem than if I just built one for my daughter?
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Re: Covenant on my land - build a tree house?

Postby Collaborate » Tue Sep 22, 2015 1:53 pm

If you build a rudimentary one for a child that might be classed as temporary, as the idea may well be to take it down when she's grown out of it.

If you build it to let out to holidaymakers I would class that as permanent.

Remember, that the neighbour need not claim only damages. They could ask for injunctive relief, which is the natural relief in such a situation.

Damages are not limited to loss of value of the neighbour's land. The court would assess how much you would have, at arms length, had to pay to rid your land of the covenant.

This article may be useful to you:

http://www.practicalconveyancing.co.uk/ ... 0207/1130/
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Re: Covenant on my land - build a tree house?

Postby dantheaxeman » Tue Sep 22, 2015 3:28 pm

Can you identify who owns the benefit of the covenant?

For a covenant to be enforceable against subsequent owners of burdened land:

it must be restrictive;
it must 'touch and concern the land'; and
the land benefiting from the covenant must be identifiable.
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Re: Covenant on my land - build a tree house?

Postby Clifford Pope » Wed Sep 23, 2015 11:11 am

"separate title to the main house that has the following restrictive covenants:"

So the covenants apply only to the main house - the orchard is on a separate title with no covenants?

Or did you mean "which" instead of "that" ?


(Compare "This is the house that Jack built" with "This is the house which Jack built")
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