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London County Council v Allen and Others [1914] 3 KB 642

Property law – Restrictive covenant

Facts

The owner of a piece of land applied to London County Council under the London Building Act 1894, section 7 for the grant of a new street on the land that they owned. London County Council accepted this on the basis that the owner agreed not to build on a plot of land which would have been situated at the end of the street, to which the land owner agreed. The Council did not own any of the lands for which they imposed the covenant. The land owner subsequently sold the plot of land to the defendant who proceeded to build houses on the plot without the consent of the Council, despite having notice of the restrictive covenant on the land. The Council brought proceedings against the defendant for breaking the term within the covenant.

Issue

The key issue for the court to assess in this case was whether the Council could enforce the restrictive covenant which would prevent the defendant from building houses upon the land that had been purchased.

Held

The Council was not entitled to enforce the restrictive covenant against the defendant who wished to build on the land. The Council did not own any of the land affected by the covenant and therefore was not considered to receive the benefit from the covenant. Therefore the defendant could not be bound in equity or by law by the covenant. Kennedy LJ did note however that he was ‘not at all favourably impressed with her [the defendant] conduct as a good citizen’.


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