S157 Notices are Restrictive Covenants placed on rural ex-Council houses which can only be purchased by someone who has either lived or worked in Devon for the three years prior to purchase.

Restrictive Covenants

Some ex-Council houses in West Devon can only be transferred with the Council's consent.

Which houses does this apply to?

  • Houses which were bought from the Council, in other words under the 'right to buy' scheme before 22 February 1999. 
  • On that date the Council sold all its houses to West Devon Homes, who have now amalgamated with DCH. and in the case of houses bought from that Company, after 22 February 1999, you or your Solicitor should contact DCH to find out what restrictions apply.
  • Not all former Council houses in West Devon have this restriction - it will usually apply to ones in the designated rural areas outside the towns of Tavistock and Okehampton.
  • Properties sold by the Council prior to 1985 will not have a Section 157 restrictive covenant.  Please check with your solicitor.

Information for Estate Agents

  • When a former Council house is marketed, it's essential that particulars include details of any restrictions as to who can buy the property. This reduces the risk  of a sale falling through because the Council will not give consent.
  • The vendor's solicitor should examine the Deeds at an early stage, to identify any relevant restrictions.

Information for Solicitors and Conveyancers

What does the covenant say?

  • On any sale of a property affected by the restriction the prospective purchaser must apply to the Council for written consent to the sale. If the Council does not consent, the Land Registry will not register the transaction and the sale will be void. 
  • The Council will not give consent unless the prospective purchaser can prove that he or she has lived (which means having had his or her principal home) and/or worked in Devon throughout the three years immediately prior to the date of the proposed purchase of the property. If the conditions are satisfied, the Council must give consent.

How to apply for consent

  • For homes originally sold after 22 February 1999, contact DCH for more information.
  • For homes sold before 22 February 1999, you need consent from West Devon Borough Council.
  • The documents you need for your application (Statutory Declaration which you complete, or Section 157 Certificate which your solicitor signs) are in the 'downloads' section.
  • You must also supply two forms of supporting evidence to prove you have lived and/or worked in Devon continuously for the past three years.
  • Please read 'How to apply for consent where a Rural Area Restriction applies', and refer to the FAQ document for more information.