Q&As

Would a restrictive covenant requiring property to be used for 'private residential purposes' restrict it being used as an HMO?

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Produced in partnership with Chris Bryden of 4 King’s Bench Walk
Published on LexisPSL on 19/07/2021

The following Property Q&A produced in partnership with Chris Bryden of 4 King’s Bench Walk provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Would a restrictive covenant requiring property to be used for 'private residential purposes' restrict it being used as an HMO?

Would a restrictive covenant requiring property to be used for 'private residential purposes' restrict it being used as an HMO?

It is fairly common that a covenant requiring that a property be used for private residential purposes, or for a single private residence, will be found in leases or by way of restrictive covenant. The scope and extent of such a covenant will depend upon its precise wording. Covenants often provide that the property must be used only as a dwellinghouse, a private dwellinghouse or a single private dwellinghouse. 'Private residential purposes' is likely to be construed as being synonymous with use as a private dwellinghouse.

Generally, where the covenant does not provide that the use must be in the occupation of the lessee, this will not prohibit the letting of the property, provided that such letting is not merely transient (such as for AirBnB lettings for example): see Snarecroft Ltd v Quantum Securities Ltd. However, where the covenant is not to use the premises for any purpose other than a private residence, which is likely to have the same meaning as 'private residential purposes', a series of short term lets was

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