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You can’t sit on the fence when it comes to repairs

24 Mar 2018

In Churston Golf Club v Haddock [2018], the High Court has looked at whether an obligation in transfer to maintain boundary fences would bind successors in title.  Isabel Alderton-Sell in DMH Stallard's Development Team looks at the case and what this means in practice.

Facts of the Case

Mr Haddock was the tenant of a farm and the Churston Golf Club had a lease of the neighbouring golf club.  A 1972 conveyance of the golf club land contained the following obligation:

“The Purchaser hereby covenants ….. that the Purchaser and all those deriving title under it will maintain and forever hereafter keep in good repair at its own expense substantial and sufficient stock proof boundary fences walls or hedges along all such parts of the land hereby conveyed as are marked T inwards on the plan annexed hereto.”

Mr Haddock wanted the Golf Club to fence the boundary in accordance with the terms of this conveyance.  The Golf Club said that they didn’t need to, as this obligation only fell on the original Purchaser. 

The Court had to decide if this was an express obligation on the owner of the golf club land which would bind future owners of the golf club land. The Court decided that the words “forever hereafter” showed that the parties had intended the obligation to fence the land to last into the future, even if the original purchaser no longer owned the land. 

What does this mean in practice?

This is the first time that the courts have had to look at whether an express fencing obligation in a conveyance would create an duty which would run with the land.   The Court took the approach of looking at the original intentions of the parties. 

If you have such an obligation in your title deeds, then you need to make sure that you comply with your fencing obligations to make sure that you aren’t caught out. 

 

 

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