A matter of land | Please help, the municipal council is threatening me!
Good day readers. Today we respond to another question from a reader.
Good day Mr Francis,
I need your help urgently. I was written to by the municipal council about some suspected breaches of restrictive covenants on my property and that I need to have them rectified.
My bone of contention is that I did a Surveyor's Report recently and only one breach was noted.
The municipal council has listed the following suspected breaches:
1. It stated that a concrete arch structure that was constructed is in breach of restrictive covenant number three as it touches the boundary wall and the restrictive covenant says no building or structure must be closer than five feet to the boundary.
2. It also stated that there is a second dwelling on my property in breach of restrictive covenant number 11.
3. In addition, the council has stated that my western wall is higher than seven feet which it claims, is in breach of restrictive covenant number five.
Please help me, Mr Francis, as I want to know why my surveyor didn't list these three breaches but only noted one that the municipal council also stated.
I urgently need some answers as I have a limited time to respond to the local authority.
I await your response.
Good day StedM,
Thank you for all the information you have sent to me, it was really helpful in allowing me to respond to your question in a very thorough and informed way without having to make assumptions.
I will respond to your question in an itemised way as you have done.
First, I would like to know who was it that the municipal council sent to check your property?
I ask this as only a commissioned land surveyor is able to definitively determine if there is a breach of a restrict covenant or not. So I would like to know if the council sent a commissioned land surveyor or one of its officers.
With regards to your questions regarding the council's concerns:
1. The "concrete structures" as referred to are just internal walls built as a means of security and in my estimation, do not constitute a breach of restrictive covenant number three.
If the walls are to be considered as the permanent structure as being suggested by the municipal council, then all the properties that touch the main road would be in breach as it states that no building or permanent structure is to be constructed nearer than 25 feet to the centre line of the road. All boundary walls are closer than 25 feet to the centre line.
2. Restrictive covenant 11 allows for more than one building on the property as it makes provisions for "appropriate outbuildings". It states that no building other than a private dwelling house with appropriate outbuildings appurtenant thereto, and occupied therewith, be erected. This tells me that more than one building can be constructed on the property.
An outbuilding is defined by the legal dictionary as a structure not connected with the primary residence on a parcel of property. This may include a shed, garage, barn, cabana, pool house, or cottage. A cottage is defined as a small house. This leads me again to the opinion that you do not have a breach of restrictive covenant number 11.
3. Restrictive covenant number five states: " No fence or hedge of any kind, tree or plant of a height of more than four feet six inches shall be erected grown or permitted within 15 feet of any road intersection." This restrictive covenant is not applicable to the subject property as it is not within 15 feet of any road intersection.
The property is 140 feet from the nearest road intersection.
I hope this is of great help to you. What I suggest now is that you contact your land surveyor and have him craft a response to the council for you.
Until next time traverse well.
- Craig Francis is a commissioned land surveyor and managing director of Precision Surveying Services Ltd. He can be contacted for questions or queries at firstname.lastname@example.org or Precision Surveying Services.