See how we can help

Get started online

Covenant mortgages

Written By:
Myles Robinson - Expert Finance Advisor

Posted: Feb 6, 2023

Buying a UK house with A deed of covenant – How it works and your options

Many people are interested in purchasing a home with a covenant but aren’t sure what it is or how it could affect their mortgage approval.

Many borrowers don’t realise that just because they own the property doesn’t mean they have unlimited rights to it.

A Deed of Covenant, an essential legal document that affects leasehold properties, states that the leaseholder agrees with the landlord to fulfil a set of obligations.

The Deed is the document that sets out the covenants or promises that must be followed when a new owner of leasehold property takes control.

This document is necessary to protect both the management company and the freeholder. Leaseholders are legally bound by it.

There are two types of restrictive covenants: positive and negative.

Enquire below to speak with a specialist mortgage broker who can introduce you to a mortgage lender.

Get started online


What is a covenant in buying a house?

A covenant is an agreement in the mortgage deeds or contracts for a property. It is a promise to limit the use of the land. This could be a permanent easement or restriction of future owners.

Sometimes, landowners will make a deed of covenant or private agreement to limit the use of their land so that they can both benefit from it for reasonable and prompt handling.

The agreement is recorded in the property’s title deeds and not by the parties. The contract or covenant will continue binding even if the current owners sell their land.

What are the drawbacks to buying land with a restrictive covenant?

Land with restrictive covenants may cause problems for buyers and the property owner, particularly if they want to build.

Enquire below. We can provide mortgage advice on positive covenants and the deed of covenant.

Get started online


Buy an ex-council home with covenants.

Sometimes, this can happen when you buy an ex-council house. This can make it difficult for homeowners who want to renovate the property or make changes.

This could include adding an extension to the home or simple modifications such as adding a satellite dish. Speak with specialist brokers to find specialist lenders who deal with restrictive covenants.

Covenants for the purchase of land

Some restrictive covenants regulate activities within the land boundaries. This can also cause problems, mainly if they restrict noise or building activity during certain times of the day.

Covenants can also prevent businesses or trades from operating on the land.

Local authorities might insist that developers build affordable housing sold at a certain percentage of the market value for perpetuity. This will ensure that affordable housing remains available. This is often associated with buying a section 106 property.

It may be necessary that the buyer has lived in this area for some time before purchasing.

There are many types of restrictive covenants, and this is by no means an exhaustive list.

Can a covenant limit where you can build?

Certain covenants may require you not to build on certain land areas. The new owner of the land will need to obtain permission from the person who has the restriction covenant.

This can lead to disputes and even the enforcement of the covenant by the courts for legal obligations. This is then an extra expense of legal fees.

It is essential to review your restrictive covenant before buying land. This will allow you to understand how it affects your property.

What happens if you break the covenant?

Respecting a covenant when you’re considering purchasing a property is essential.

If you do not, you could be subject to a claim for damages, injunctions, or legal obligations.

What can you do to protect yourself from a covenant?

You may be eligible to request a declaration from the Lands Tribunal if you are subject to a restrictive covenant. This can be lengthy and expensive, so it might be worth your while to avoid any potential repercussions.

This insurance is also known as Indemnity.

Get started online


Indemnity insurance

Although many companies offer Indemnity insurance, it may be more challenging to get if your property is of non-standard construction, such as an eco-home or a listed building.

Unique and more complicated structures can pose many problems, including stringent material and craftsmanship requirements that can prove costly.

If something goes wrong, it could cost the insurance company a lot to fix the property.

Some insurance policies don’t cover certain types of buildings. However, this doesn’t make it impossible to find a good deal.

Constitute financial advice with a mortgage broker here to discuss mortgage repayments, an existing mortgage, commercial mortgages, indemnity insurance and a restrictive covenant.

Our aim is mortgage approval!

Get started online


What could a restrictive covenant do to a mortgage?

The choice of mortgage lenders for mortgages on homes with covenants may be less as these restrictions could affect the sale-ability. Due to failed mortgage repayments, lenders may be forced to sell the property if repossessed.

This could lead to higher mortgage payments, higher interest rates and a larger deposit required to secure the mortgage.

Specialist mortgage lenders may be able to lend on properties with a restrictive covenant, provided you meet their affordability requirements.

Click the link below, and we will give you free advice from a specialist mortgage broker.

Get started online

Positive Covenants

The leaseholder is required to fulfil certain obligations for positive covenants. These often aim at creating a comfortable living environment for everyone who lives in the development. These obligations can include:

  • Consent to certain maintenance funds being used
  • Agreeing on more significant works (often subjected to discussion by a committee);
  • Service charges must be paid promptly
  • Maintaining communal areas in good order;
  • Confirm that the property’s exterior parts (essential repairs, painting, etc.) are well maintained.

Negative Covenants

The leaseholders are prohibited from performing certain acts on the property, such as holiday and service accommodation let lets, sub-letting, or holiday accommodation let lets.

Other typical negative covenants include owning pets, subletting, operating a commercial enterprise, and making excessive noise after hours.

Access to certain areas of the development may be restricted depending on where the leasehold property is. These restrictions are called easement restrictions.

What does signing restrictive covenants mean?

The Deed of Covenant, signed on the sale of leasehold property, transfers both the positive and the negative covenants from the seller to a new buyer (or leaseholder).

In effect, the freeholder issues a contract to the new leaseholder, requiring them to adhere to the covenants.

Any breach of the Deed of Covenant terms could lead to a claim for damages or even a court order.

Every Covenant could have unique nuances because leasehold properties are different from freehold.

Dependence on one could lead to problems. If there are restrictions on the Register of Title, formal registration will be delayed until a certificate of compliance is issued. It must be shown that specific clauses were adhered to.

The property with a deed, like the House Sale Contract and other important legal documents, must be signed in the presence of an independent witness (over 18).

Direct Deed of Covenant

A Deed of Covenant could state that a subtenant must sign a separate Deed of Covenant if the leaseholder wishes to sublet their property.

Direct Deed of Covenant is also known this way. It does not impose any obligations upon all other leaseholders.

Covenant Fee

It is essential to verify whether the freeholder charges a fee to issue a Deed of Covenant (in addition to other house sales costs).

This could be part of the administrative fee when forwarding the leasehold management package to the conveyancer.

There is no set fee, but it does not usually exceed £300.

Conveyancing firms may charge additional fees. These fees will usually be directly related to the document’s complexity. If the lease documentation is more complex than it should be, other legal work may be required (at a proportionately higher cost).

The deed or covenant will likely be treated as a disbursement or additional cost to the standard conveyancing costs. There may be further Notice of Transfer or Notice of Charge fees.

If you do not abide by the covenant, internal complaints handling procedures and the financial ombudsman service could get involved.


Talk to an expert today

A mortgage broker can give the best advice and answers on a property with a deed of covenant.

Get started online



What is a personal vow?

A personal covenant in a mortgage refers to a promise or agreement by the borrower that they will repay their mortgage payments on time.

The lender could sue the borrower if the mortgage is in arrears.

How do you determine where the covenant’s benefit is?

A mortgage advisor can help you find the location of the “benefit deed of covenant”, although it is often with the current landowner. It may be transferred to another person or company in some cases.

This is important as they will be responsible for answering any questions or mortgage applications and will be the best people to get your mortgage approval.

Do I need professional advice?

Yes. We have access to thousands of mortgage lenders in the UK.

Our experienced specialists will be able to recommend the best mortgage lender for a property with a deed of covenant.

Get started online