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Legal, byelaws and PSPOs

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2. Housing Act 1985 (Section 157)

Sometimes referred to as the Devon Rule or Devon Covenant.

The Housing Act (Section 157), or S157 notices, are Restrictive Covenants placed on properties in designated rural areas of Teignbridge, which were bought from the Council under the 'right to buy' scheme.

The purpose of this policy is to ensure that local people continue to have access to housing which remains affordable and which serves local needs.

The condition is that prospective buyers of former Council properties must comply with Section 157 of the Housing Act 1985 in that they must have lived and/or worked in Devon, for three years immediately prior to the purchase.

In the case of joint purchasers, at least one person has to satisfy this requirement. The property will always be subject to the restriction.

Guidance for Sellers

If you are selling a property with a section 157 restriction you must make your estate agent aware of the restriction. Your agent should include information about the section 157 restriction so that the property can be marketed accordingly. This reduces the risk of a sale falling through because the purchaser does not meet the qualifying criteria.

If the Council’s consent is not provided, the Land Registry will not register the transaction.

Guidance for Buyers

Evidence

For buyers who have been resident in the Teignbridge area for the requisite three year period, the Electoral Roll can be checked upon receipt of his/her addresses for the last three years and no further evidence will be required.

  • For all others buyers at least one of the following will need to be provided;
  • A letter from an employer to confirm place of employment and length of service.
  • A letter from the local Council’s Electoral Registration Office confirming that they have appeared on the Register of Electors for the last three years.
  • Council tax bills for the last three years.
  • If length of residency/employment are difficult to establish for whatever reason, then other documentary evidence will be considered such as utility bills etc.

Exempt disposals (exceptions)

There are circumstances whereby new owners do not have to comply with the three-year rule. These are known as “exempt disposals” and arise where:

  • the property is being transferred from joint to sole name (or vice versa) or,
  • inherited under a will or intestacy

Even though these transactions are exempt, a form of consent is still usually required by HM Land Registry. To request consent in these circumstances, please contact Legal@teignbridge.gov.uk

Apply for the Council's consent 

To apply for the Council’s consent, the Council will require:

  • Full name(s) and address(es) of the proposed buyer(s)
  • An Official copy of the property’s register of title
  • Payment of the Council’s fee - £75

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More info about the journey

To apply for the Council’s consent, the Council will require:

  • Full name(s) and address(es) of the proposed buyer(s)
  • An Official copy of the property’s register of title
  • Payment of the Council’s fee - £75