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Variation under s610 of 1985 Act

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Variation under s610 of 1985 Act

Lawntown Limited v Camenzuli [2007] EWCA Civ 949.


Many practitioners will be familiar with the power of the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) to discharge or modify restrictive covenants pursuant to s84 of the Law of Property Act 1925. Not so many will be familiar with the power of the county court to vary restrictive covenants under s610 of the Housing Act 1985. The section "applies to freehold as well as to leasehold land and is designed to provide relief against covenants in so far as they would prevent the conversion of larger houses into two or more smaller dwellings" (para 9). In this case the CA gave guidance as to how the court should exercise its discretion when deciding whether o r not to make an order under s610.

Section 610 of the 1985 Act
    "(1) The local housing authority or a person interested in any premises may apply to the county court where ..
      (a) owing to changes in the character of the neighbourhood in which the premises are situated, they cannot readily be let as a single dwelling-house but could readily be let for occupation if converted into two or more dwelling-houses, or

      (b) planning permission has been granted under Part III of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (general planning control) for the use of the premises as converted into two or more separate dwelling-houses instead of as a single dwelling-house,

    and the conversion is prohibited or restricted by the provisions of the lease of the premises, or by a restrictive covenant affecting the premises, or otherwise.

    (2) The court may, after giving any person interested an opportunity of being heard, vary the terms of the lease or other instrument imposing the prohibition or restriction, subject to such conditions and upon such terms as the court may think just."

The Respondent was a development company ("the developer") which had purchased a freehold property with a view to converting it into flats. It obtained planning permission for change of use of the property from a single dwelling-house to two self-contained flats. However, the property was also subject to a restrictive covenant so the developer applied to the county court under s610 of the 1985 for a variation of the covenants as to permit the conversion to take place. T ... THIS IS AN EXTRACT OF THE FULL TEXT. TO GET THE FULL TEXT, SEE BELOW

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