Most property buyers don’t know about property or building covenants, but they should. Primarily because you might be planning to build the home you have been dreaming of, or purchase an existing house with plans of renovating it, only to find out that you cannot do anything to it due to a property covenant.
In Queensland, NZ, property laws are put in place to be observed and not to put anyone in distress. It is in your best interest that you know more about building covenants.
What is it?
A building covenant, likewise called a land covenant, restrictive covenant, property covenant, development control by laws, or estate agreement, are restrictions and guidelines placed on a property. Essentially, they are rules you must observe when remodelling or building property. Take note that they are not building codes, which are codes set by the New Zealand government.
Why is it imposed?
A building covenant is imposed to set a strict standard for building properties within a particular development to make certain that all houses will be constructed with the same quality standards in mind.
What does it cover?
In general, a building covenant includes only external elements, sustainability elements, and the size of dwellings. Essentially, if you like to paint the dining room bright neon pink, you are free to do so if it is not specified in the covenant.
When does it take effect?
Upon signing a contract to buy a property, you are also necessarily agreeing to follow the rules indicated in that property’s building covenant, explains a property law solicitor in QLD.
Put simply, the main thing to know about a building covenant is this: if you bought property in an area controlled by a contract or are looking to construct a home within a development with an imposed building agreement, you would have to abide by the rules contained in the covenant.
While this is unfortunate if you want to do something not allowed under the rules, think about this: you’ve already invested significant money, effort, and time in building your dream house, and you wouldn’t want your neighbour to build a substandard home that would quickly devalue yours, right?
To that end, before purchasing or building, seek help from an experienced solicitor to help you read unclear or ambiguous building covenants and make certain that you do not violate any rules.