Develop Outbuildings with Restrictive Covenant



New Member
Hi fellow Property People, I need your help please...

I bought my house a few years ago. The house has some outbuildings that are used as garages and others that we currently use as storage of personal stuff (junk). The previous owner of our house had planning permission granted to convert these storage outbuildings into 2 small holiday-let cottages. The development did not go ahead because there are restrictive covenants on the land that require permission of the adjoining B&B owner for any development and they did not get on. I believe the B&B owners at the time did not like the arrangements for parking as they have access over my driveway to access the rear of their property and stated this would be restricted. Ownership of the B&B has now changed.

I approached the new owner with my outline plans to develop 3 holiday lets on the land. He has replied that it would be unacceptable as he has nothing to gain from it. He has made me a ridiculously low offer to purchase my driveway and outbuildings so that he can develop a larger single cottage on the land.

There are covenants on my land dating back to the 50s and more recent ones too. The extract of register that I have refers to these covenants but talks about filed plans and areas marked by certain colours. The colours and lines have changed over the years as property boundaries have moved and interested parties have changed. I am trying my best but find a lot of it quite confusing.

Can you help with information on who I need to engage with to investigate these covenants and explain to me in a manner that I understand, what I can and cannot do, who I need permission from, who should pay to maintain my driveway etc.

I'm also not sure if I can dispute the B&B owner's denial of consent for development as he wants to develop it himself!

I would really appreciate any insight and further tips you might have.

Thanks in advance!


The most glaring point from your post is the fact that your potential holiday lets would impact the business of the B&B? In their shoes I would probably dispute your plans but to make you a crazy low offer for the land is silly. So you have land that you cant develop and that the neighbour wants but not at market price. Is there any chance that you could work together on a joint venture?


New Member
Hi LTI, thanks for the reply.

Yes, the sticking point is that it would compete with the B&B for customers.

We are considering pursuing a joint venture. We may approach the owner with the prospect of us developing and retaining ownership under condition of leasing to his business for a number of years.

With his silly offer, the outbuildings would be much more valuable to let out or sell as individual garages to local residents for which we wouldn't need his consent, though I don't think he'd be happy about that.

I think I need to engage with a professional so I can fully understand all of the covenants on my land and overturn any that are no longer relevant - crucially I think this one will remain relevant. I'm just not sure which professional to approach. Should it be any conveyancing solicitor? Some kind of property development specialist? I'm stuck on who to turn to for accurate answers that isn't going to cost more than necessary.



A quick search on Google will show you the mass of companies which advise on restricitive covenants although it would be better to have a referral off a friend where possible - so you know the company is ok.

I think you have a number of options here:-

- Persue a joint venture
- Lease the two properties to the B&B people
- Squeeze them a little and say you are considering renting out as garages

If they aren't interested in working with you or leasing the property then the threat of constant traffic outside their B&B (which they can do nothing about) might squeeze them to make a "sensible" offer for the land.