The Law Commission has recommended a series of reforms to the law governing third party rights over land. Headlines include:

  • The Commission proposes that it should be possible for a landowner to create an easement, such as a right of way or drainage rights, over his or her own land.
  • Currently, positive obligations (such as an obligation to repair a boundary or a road) are not capable of binding successors. The Commission endorses the introduction of a new system of "land obligations", which would allow both positive and negative obligations to "run with the land".
  • The Lands Chamber of the Upper Tribunal (previously the Lands Tribunal) currently has jurisdiction to discharge or modify restrictive covenants. The Law Commission recommends that this should be extended to apply to easements created after the date of reform.
  • The Law Commission recommends that, in order for the Lands Chamber to discharge a covenant, it would no longer be necessary for the developer to establish the same single ground for discharge against all parties who benefit from a covenant. It would be sufficient if one of the grounds (but not necessarily the same one) was established in relation to each party.

If implemented, many of the recommendations would be of particular assistance to developers. A full analysis of the proposals will follow next week.