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Think twice before you sell part of your property

26 March 2014

Do you want to make some money from that bit of garden or that part of your site that you never use or perhaps you were hoping to buy a piece of your neighbour’s land?

Whether selling or buying, people often base their decisions on their relationship with their current neighbours, but people will come and go. What if your relationship with your new neighbour turns out to be substantially different?

Knock-on effects

Whether you own a house or a commercial property make sure that the sale of part of it will not have an unexpected knock-on effect in the future. If buying, will you be able to use the land as you want to?

Selling part of your property may make you a quick buck but what of the future? Will you have any control over what the new owner can or cannot do with what was once your property? You may be able to achieve this by imposing appropriately worded covenants on the land. You can also make sure that your neighbour will not be able to complain about how you use the property you are keeping, something that is particularly important if you are running a business from there.

You can do this by imposing restrictions on the land you are selling to ensure that the new owner cannot object to what you are doing on your land, or to any planning application you may want to make in relation to that land. This is essential if, for example, your business is one that creates noise or smells that others may object to.

Future development

What if the land you are selling may be developed later? Do you want to have another bite of the cherry in that event? A covenant not to build will not be enough. Make sure you are properly protected.

If buying are there any restrictions, whether in the title or in planning terms, that will prevent you from using the land as you want? Does the seller want to impose any restrictions on you which might impact on your future use of it?

In short, think ahead and be properly advised.

Robert Draper is a new member of our residential property team. He handles all aspects of residential property work and also acts for property developers in relation to both land acquisition and plot sales, as well as for clients with rural property, in which he has a particular interest. 

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Robert Draper LLB (Hons)
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