Author Topic: How strict is section 106 local occupancy clause?  (Read 516 times)

How strict is section 106 local occupancy clause?
« on: June 14, 2020, 12:54:46 am »
We're having an argument about local occupancy clause. We're live 15 minutes away from a Cumbrian village just over the border. We both work in Lancaster which is another 20 to 30 minutes south again. We saw a house in this village but it is subject to local occupancy clause.

Now it's aim AIUI is to prevent houses becoming second homes. If we bought such a house we'd be living in it as a family. We simply live and work over the border in Lancashire. In my case 20+years in the same place. The clause requires the new owner to be living and working in Cumbria for at least 3 years.

So our argument is whether we could buy this house to live in thus breaking the rule but not leaving it as a second home. Or, as I argued, the rules are strict and we could not buy and move in.

I can't see how a scheme that's been in place in Cumbria for 20 years could still operate if it's fast and loose with the rules. It's not just about living in the property but it's about contributing to the county too I thought. We could meet the living in the village full time part of the aim behind the scheme in the future just not the past. And we can't meet the working in at all. Although my partner works from home most of the time and this would be in Cumbria if we could get this house.

So does anyone know how strict local occupancy rules are?

BTW it's an ex council house that was bought under right to buy hence the clause applies.

Gattopardo

  • Lord of the sith
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Re: How strict is section 106 local occupancy clause?
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2020, 01:36:05 am »
106 agreements can be very easily bipassed at the best of times.  Had a few of these of properties developed and managed on the south downs.

But if it is your only home, you should be alright. 

Re: How strict is section 106 local occupancy clause?
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2020, 11:40:32 pm »
Bipassed, how?

Strictly I'd have thought you'd not be able be to buy if conditions not met. However if the idea is purely to stop empty villages of holiday homes or holiday rentals then anyone who intends to live full time there and who works within commuting distance would meet the main arms of filling houses with actual locals.

If we bought such a house what could they do after the contracts have been exchanged and we're in? Or is there a mechanism to check and block people who don't exactly meet criteria before they buy the house?

Re: How strict is section 106 local occupancy clause?
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2020, 10:17:27 am »
It's a covenant.  I had a house in Coventry that had a number or restrictive covenants; no caravans on driveways - to prevent travellers siting their vans as the estate was built on former common land (this, in the Midlands, which decamps in it's 'vans en-masse to the southwest come summer), only doctors, dentists or accountants could use them as business premises, etc.  All were ignored and nothing ever came of them.

I think that as long as you honour the spirit of the restriction - i.e. it's not a second home / property to let there will be no problems. After all, if you did work locally, but had to change jobs, you'd not be forced to sell.
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Re: How strict is section 106 local occupancy clause?
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2020, 10:25:48 am »
There is a 'rural worker' restriction on a house near me. Price of house is about £150k below normal asking price for the region.
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ian

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Re: How strict is section 106 local occupancy clause?
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2020, 10:43:49 am »
Covenants can only be enforced if someone finds them and objects. We're not allowed to make bricks in our backgarden (I assume the original landowners had an interest in brickmaking and didn't want competition) or have fences higher than 5 feet (not sure about this one). The houses at the back of ours are covenanted 'not to cause or do anything that would be construed as a nuisance' (or legalese words to that effect) which seems pretty broad.

There's a couple of towns around here with no pubs because of a restrictive covenant saying that properties can't be used to sell booze on the premises (actually, no industry is allowed)*. That said, in one of them there used to be a pub, never figured out that one (it's a house now, but there's old pub sign in the garden).

*the entire parish was bought by a teetotal geologist named William Gifford.

ETA: of course, it should go without saying, your solicitor should explain any covenants and your legal obligations.
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Re: How strict is section 106 local occupancy clause?
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2020, 11:12:14 am »
I was thinking that your solicitor might have a legal obligation to work within the law and might, if they're strict in their practises, refuse to handle the purchase because they know you fail to meet the covenant. Or the estate agents. Surely these professions have rules aimed at enforcing legal obligations among the profession and their clients?? I'm an optimist and idealist at times I know it sounds daft now I've typed it!!!

ian

  • feat. Undead Jess & Finestre, Queen of Hell
Re: How strict is section 106 local occupancy clause?
« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2020, 11:30:50 am »
It's the responsibility of the owner to abide by any covenants, not their solicitor. You pay the solicitor for their advice.

Estate agents. hah hah ahahhahh ahahhahhhahahahh ha.
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Re: How strict is section 106 local occupancy clause?
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2020, 12:02:25 pm »
The job of the solicitor is to provide you with all pertinent information and guidance from a legal perspective.  What the client does (perhaps short of being a criminal act) is entirely up to the client.


Gattopardo

  • Lord of the sith
  • Overseaing the building of the death star
Re: How strict is section 106 local occupancy clause?
« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2020, 01:31:31 pm »
Bipassed, how?

Strictly I'd have thought you'd not be able be to buy if conditions not met. However if the idea is purely to stop empty villages of holiday homes or holiday rentals then anyone who intends to live full time there and who works within commuting distance would meet the main arms of filling houses with actual locals.

If we bought such a house what could they do after the contracts have been exchanged and we're in? Or is there a mechanism to check and block people who don't exactly meet criteria before they buy the house?

A 106 agreement is 'just' between the developer and the Local planning authority.

I'll come back to this later.