Covenant in right to buy conveyance reasonable

Sheffield City Council v Ronald and Margaret Mary Jackson & Ors (1998)

CA (Nourse LJ, Peter Gibson LJ, Sir Patrick Russell) 21/5/98

Appeal of the plaintiff council against the order of Astill J on 24 July 1997 declaring that a covenant in a clause of a conveyance of freehold property to the defendants by the plaintiff pursuant to the "right to buy" provisions of the Housing Act 1985 was not reasonable in all the circumstances as required by Sch.6, Part I, para.5. The appeal concerned the enforcement of service charges against the owners of former council houses on an estate in Sheffield who had purchased their houses under the "right to buy" provisions of the Housing Act 1985. The defendants sought to challenge the validity of a covenant to pay service charges in respect of, inter alia, the upkeep of landscaping and play areas which they contended was void for uncertainty or not reasonable pursuant to the provisions of the Act. The judge held that the covenant was not reasonable. The council appealed on the ground that the defendants were not entitled, after the execution of the conveyance, to challenge the covenant on the basis that it was not reasonable and if it could be challenged, on the ground that the covenant was reasonable.