According to research from The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, 83% of estate agents expect demand for homes with gardens to increase over the next two years.

The coronavirus lockdown has caused lots of people to re-evaluate their living situations, with many now seeking to purchase properties with more outdoor space. Others are looking to move out of city centres to more suburban, greener areas, now there is less demand to be physically present in their offices at all times.

The shifting trend has come as the property market has begun its bounce back with the assistance of the Chancellor’s freeze on Stamp Duty until March 2021, for properties under £500,000.

Legal Considerations for Properties with Outdoor Space

If you are thinking about purchasing a property with a garden or outdoor space, there are a number of things you will need to consider and discuss with your conveyancer first to ensure there are no nasty surprises further down the line!

Boundary Lines

Before you purchase the property, make sure you know where the boundaries of your outdoor space legally lie. In some cases, the fences or walls marking boundaries can move gradually over time without either party realising and when new owners come in, it can be discovered that the outdoor space actually owned by them is quite a bit smaller than it appears, or vice versa.

It is also important to be aware of who is responsible for maintaining any walls or fences that lie on the boundaries.

Restrictive Covenants and Planning Permission

If you have viewed a prospective property and now have grand designs of transforming the outdoor space into your own place of zen, it is important to know whether there is any planning permission currently in place which could assist with the changes or, alternatively, whether the property is subject to any restrictive covenants which will stop you using the space as you wish.

Japanese Knotweed

Japanese Knotweed is an aggressive plant which can cause untold damage to concrete, tarmac and floorboards. It is costly to treat and it can seriously affect the value of the property. For this reason, it is absolutely imperative you make sure you are aware of the presence of any Japanese Knotweed in the outdoor space of the property you are looking to buy. Your conveyancer can complete searches to find out whether the weed is currently present or whether there has been any past treatment of it at the property.

Other Conveyancing Searches

Your conveyancer will complete a number of searches on your behalf to identify any potential issues which may affect your use of the property and outdoor space. As well as those mentioned above, other searches include drainage and water searches which will identify any sewer or water supply pipes which run under your property, and environmental searches which will identify any risks such as flooding, subsidence, landfill and potentially contaminated sites within 250 metres of the property.

The outcome of all of these searches along with advice from your conveyancer will allow you to make an informed decision on the purchase of the property.

Farleys’ residential property team has extensive experience on advising clients purchasing property with additional outdoor space. To discuss any matter related to buying or selling your property, please call 0845 287 0939 or send us a message and a member of the team will get in touch with you.