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The Meaning of “Annoyance”

Development sites are often subject to restrictive covenants preventing anything that would cause “nuisance or annoyance” to owners of nearby land. A recent High Court case has provided guidance on what constitutes “annoyance” for these purposes.

The Court held that, where the land having the benefit of the covenant is used as housing, the test is whether “reasonable people, having regard to the ordinary use of a house for pleasurable enjoyment, would be annoyed or aggrieved”. The Court adopted a robust approach. It held that the construction of a development that would obscure views of the river would cause annoyance and therefore be a breach of the restrictive covenant.

This case reminds developers that they must tread very carefully when buying or developing land that is subject to a restrictive covenant against causing a nuisance or annoyance. Their development could easily breach the covenant concerned.

Please contact Property Development team if you require any further information.

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