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What is a Section 157 Restriction?

AuthorsKatherine Whittle

2 min read

What is a Section 157 Restriction

Every once in a while, you may find a restriction relating to Section 157 of the Housing Act 1985 on a title register. So, what does this mean and what do you have to do about it?

The ultimate purpose of these restrictions was to help local properties become available and affordable to local people. The restrictions allow Councils to impose a restriction on the future sales of properties bought under the Right to Buy scheme if the property is in a national park, an area of outstanding natural beauty or an area designated as a rural area. The restrictions can also be identified in a local land charge. Properties subject to such a restriction are often found in popular tourist/ holiday home areas such as Cornwall, Devon, the Cotswolds and Norfolk.

A Section 157 restriction will affect the value of a property, so it is important to take this into consideration when acquiring a property subject to such restriction. Enquiries should be made with the Council and the vendor of the property and the local planning portal should be checked to see which section 157 category the property falls under.

If restriction is still valid, the Council will have to provide written consent to the sale if the person buying the property has lived or worked in the area for a period of three years immediately before applying to buy the property. Section 157 properties are restricted to use as a principal residence and not as a second or holiday home. Should a property be acquired without the required consent from the Council, a disposal in breach of such a covenant is considered void. It is therefore essential in property transactions that any Section 157 restrictions are identified at the outset of the matter so that the necessary compliance certificate can be obtained from the Council to comply with the restriction.

If you require any assistance with Section 157 restrictions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of the Development team within our Housing and Regeneration department.