Land Development Q&As

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I am building some houses in order to sell them. Do I have to provide the buyers with NHBC cover

If you are building new houses or converting a building into a house that was previously something else, then you have two choices. One is to provide NHBC, Premier Guarantee or a similar guarantee recognised by the Council of Mortgage Lenders. The other is to obtain a certificate from a professional such as an architect, in a particular form which is approved by the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Even if your buyer is not having a mortgage, most of us solicitors will work at least to the standard that the Council of Mortgage Lenders requires and so it is almost invariably necessary to do this

I have planning permission to develop a building into flats but there is a covenant saying that it can only be used as a single dwelling house. Is there any way around this

There may be. First of all we would check that the covenant is properly enforceable. Very often they are not. Another possibility is taking out an insurance policy. If nobody has made reference to the covenant during the planning process there is a good chance such a policy will be available. You could approach the person with the benefit of the covenant although there are dangers in this in that it is likely to be uninsurable if you have made the approach and they are bound to want a substantial amount of money for its release.

Is there a way I can agree to only buy a piece of land if I know a planning permission I am about to apply for is successful

Yes, provided that the person selling it will cooperate. The best way forward would be an Option to purchase. This means that within perhaps one year you could serve a notice and be guaranteed purchasing the property at a certain price. An alternative is a planning conditional contract – your seller will prefer this because provided you get the planning permission you have to buy. You could not simply change your mind. Finally you could wait until the planning permission is granted, but the process can take eight weeks and you may stand the chance of losing the deal

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