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Requesting a covenant release, variation or approval on ex-council properties

How to request a covenant release, variation or approval

IN THIS ARTICLE

Why do I have to request permission from the Council?


All properties and land (freehold and leasehold) sold by the Council will have covenants within the Conveyance or Lease which the owner must observe and adhere to. Covenants are essentially a promise to do or not to do something on or to land or property; they stay with the land and as such the responsibility of complying with the covenants is passed from one owner to another. The use of covenants is common place and is good Estate Management practice and/or promotes the wider duties of the Council as a land owner.

Approval to remove or vary a restrictive covenant is separate from planning permission and building regulations approval. If you are in any doubt you should seek independent legal advice.
 

Step 1


Read the information on this page and the Post Right to Buy Policy.
 

Step 2

 

Requesting a covenant release, variation or approval 


You should send your request to client.services@colchester.gov.uk and include the following information:
  • Confirm you are the current property owner
  • The full postal address of the property concerned
  • Details of the conveyance
  • Details of the reason for your requests, specifically the improvements or structural changes you wish to make
  • Type of property
  • Email address for correspondence
  • Daytime telephone number

Step 3


Once we receive your enquiry we will contact you to discuss your application.
 

Step 4


If you then wish to proceed we will require a non-refundable payment for the administration of your request. See the table below for charges for the different types of request. Some additional information may also be required in order for us to proceed.
 
  Charges
Processing request for deed of variation   £350 Including VAT 
Processing request for approval to carry out work covered by a restrictive covenant   £170 Including VAT 
Processing retrospective request for approval to carry out work covered by a restrictive covenant £290 Including VAT
Processing retrospective request for a deed of variation £470 Including VAT
 

Step 5

 

Additional information we may require:

  • A copy of the covenant for which you are seeking approval for, release from or variation to.
  • Any architectural plans or sketches for planned works
  • Photos, if relevant
  • Proof of disability, if relevant
  • Building or Planning consent that has been applied for or granted

What happens once I have sent my request?


Once we have received all the relevant information and payment we will acknowledge your request within 5 working days.
 

What will happen next?


Your request will be considered in line with the Council’s Policy. If we need additional information we will contact you to request this. Once we have all the information required the Client Services Manager will decide whether the Council will agree to your request or not. We aim to provide you with a decision within 8 weeks of receipt of your enquiry.
 

What happens once a decision is made?


We will notify you of the decision by letter. If your request does not meet the policy criteria and the decision is not to agree to your request we will explain why. Details of what you can do next can be found below.

If the Council’s decision is to agree to your request we will write to you detailing the specifics of the approval. If there is a need for a ‘Deed of Variation’ the applicant assumes all responsibility for paying the Council’s fees and to pay any charges associated with the change of use to the land. Fees will be determined by the Councils Estate Services in consultation with the Client Services Manager. Appeals.
 

Can I appeal?


Yes, you must make your appeal in writing within 28 days of the date of the decision letter giving specific grounds for your appeal and whether it is regarding the policy or the procedure. You should supply additional information/evidence to support your appeal, we are unable to accept an appeal without this.

We aim to acknowledge your appeal within 5 working days of receipt and to provide an appeal decision within 8 weeks of receipt of your appeal. Where the appeal is in respect of how the policy and procedure have been applied a Senior Officer will investigate the case and respond. Appeals against decisions will be considered by the Assistant Director for Client Services. There is no further internal appeal and the next stage would be the Local Government Ombudsman. All this seems very complicated and to take a long time.
 

Why can't I make a request another way?


The Council has to have a consistent and objective way of dealing with enquiries to ensure decisions are fair and transparent. All land and property sold by the Council will be subject to restrictive covenants; the use of covenants is common place and is good Estate Management practice and/or promotes the wider duties of the Council as a land owner. 

We will endeavour to make decisions as quickly as possible within the timescales set out in the policy. 
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