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Hi all 
I’m seeking some guidance from anyone who has any insights for me.
I have a severely disabled child and we need to completely change our 3 story style town house to suit her needs. 
Our garage is included in our dwelling (it’s part of the actual house ) we are looking to convert the garage into what will now be our living space and to remove the garage.

planning permission is currently being obtained. 
Yesterday I had a knock at the door regarding this from a neighbour and he highlighted for me to check the Covenant with the house. I was aware of one but I had assumed it was the same as our last new build and the restriction was in place for 5 years. Upon looking this up it does not state anywhere any time restrictions for this Covenant. 

*Not to use the property for any purpose other than as one private dwellinghouse in the occupation of one household only. To only use the garage for the housing of a private vehicle and domestic storage. * 

and then further down it says 

Not to erect the following: (a) advertisement, sign, hoarding or placard until the developer has completed on the sale of all its other flats and houses on the estate (b) hedge fence or wall in front of the dwellinghouse (c) external television or wireless aerial or other external antennae or television satellite receiving apparatus without reasonable care being taken to keep the visual impact to a minimum reasonably practicable without prejudice to reception quality (d) external alterations or garage garden shed outbuilding, extension or temporary building including a conservatory (other than a small garden shed or greenhouse) without the consent of the local authority (where required) and the developer unless plans have previously been approved in writing by the developer who will charge a fee of not less than £60 plus VAT.

the house is 13 years old , nothing was flagged when doing the planning application. And nobody professional so far who has been involved with the house has flagged this up. I’m now feeling rather sick that we will not be able to convert the house in the way in which we need to. The council are also involved with this huge undertaking as we require hoists ect. 

Thankyou for taking the time to read I’m very stressed as I honestly didn’t think simply converting the garage was going to be an issue.



  • marcia_
    marcia_ Forumite Posts: 1,156
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     For the fence covenant, we have the same statement on a new build but I put a fence up 3 weeks after moving in. This is for safety as we have a child with autism. I've heard nothing about it from the builders in 11 years 

     most of my neighbours have converted their garage in to living space and again nothing. I'd convert ours if we could afford it. 
  • Flugelhorn
    Flugelhorn Forumite Posts: 4,933
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    edited 28 July at 8:47AM
    Many developers put these covenants in because they want the place to look great while they are still selling properties - after they have gone off the site they don't really care. We had one that required doors and windows a particularly colour for five years after they had completed al the buildings

    The problem may come with the use of the garage - on the estate I live on it is counted as a parking space and the council  do not like the number of parking spaces to be reduced - have seen some people convert the garage building a wall behind the  garage doors (leaving them in place) - I think there have been issues when some have tried to sell and some say they would just convert it back to a garage if needed. 

    If the concern is the developer having to give  permission then I suspect they are unlikely to refuse
  • star133
    star133 Forumite Posts: 51
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    Thankyou both so far for your comments. 
    The architects who submitted our application for us do not see any issues with planning permission being granted.
    I guess now there is possibly a legal issue, I would like to think they are flexible with our reasons for wanting to convert the garage.  
    Again the house is 13 years old so I would hopefully presume they would have no issues. 
  • ThisIsWeird
    ThisIsWeird Forumite Posts: 2,912
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    edited 28 July at 9:17AM
    Hi Star.
    As I understand it, the only person who can enforce a covenant is the author, so that would be the developer in your instance.
    Your options would appear to be to continue with the work and hope, or else ask the developer for permission, explaining your circumstances. Does your planning application indicate it is for disabled use? If so, I'd bring that to their attention as evidence.
    Any parking issues on your street? Do you think the neighbour brought the covenant to your attention as a helpful gesture, or could they be concerned about such developing spreading throughout the estate, with constant building and more cars having to be parked on the road? If the latter, do bear in mind they could bring this to the attention of the developer - along with their disgruntlement. I'd hope, tho', that the developer is woke* enough to be able to make individual judgements.

    *Might as well try and reclaim that word for its intended meaning, and away from the populist abuse it's been subjected to :-)
  • twopenny
    twopenny Forumite Posts: 4,574
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    Do you have a planning surgery in your area?
    We have some (National Park) where a planning officer visits once a month or so and will give advice. It's informal and they can give a good idea of what is possible and suggestions.
    It might put your mind at rest one way or another.

    I would have thought that because of the circumstances they will be as generous as they can. May even be helpful  :) 

    The only normal people you know are the ones you don’t know very well

  • star133
    star133 Forumite Posts: 51
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    Thankyou Elsien & this is weird 

    the neighbour brought it to my attention as he is following this application as he himself would like to convert his garage and he gives his full support to the application.

    the planning permission very much highlights what this is for and will have a planning DFG attached to it from the local council. 
    The original developers are no longer here they left here when the site was completed 2010 I believe. 
    The Covenant is in my opinion somewhat vague , it doesn’t directly state that you cannot change the garage. ( I could of course be over thinking this but it doesn’t state it anywhere ) 

  • Section62
    Section62 Forumite Posts: 6,839
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    star133 said:

    The architects who submitted our application for us do not see any issues with planning permission being granted.
    The main issue would probably be the loss of parking.  13 years ago planning consents were restricting the amount of parking developers could provide (both off-street and opportunity for on-street parking) with the aim of discouraging car ownership and use.  That policy is now seen as something of a failure, and councils are again interested in making sure residential properties have sufficient parking.

    Converting a garage means the loss of a parking space (even if the garage is only used for storage).  So one of the tests the planners will apply is whether there is enough parking provision within the curtilage of the property. (and conversion of a garage to a bedroom may require additional parking to be provided)

    Covenants requiring the garage to be used for parking typically mirror a planning condition, or a recognition by the developer that the loss of the garage as a parking space will have an adverse impact on other residents as a result of an increase in on-street parking.

    As elsien said, what matters is who can enforce the covenant and whether they are interested enough to do so.  If parking on your road is a problem then it may be more likely that someone will complain - either as an objection to the planning consent, or 'encouraging' the beneficiary of the covenant to do something about it.

    Did the architect discuss the parking provision with the planners before submitting the application?
  • star133
    star133 Forumite Posts: 51
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    Hi all -
    parking there is plenty of parking and we also have a decent driveway 😊
  • Rodders53
    Rodders53 Forumite Posts: 1,945
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    As I read it the Covenant clearly states you need to seek permission from Developer to do any such alteration; and pay them a fee.

    Ask them.  Simples.  
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