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Hi Everyone

 

Well my plans have all come forward...and all completely changed.

 

After a great deal of thought I have decided to go with a wooden house and 6 (not 3) chickens and it's all now happening end of June and not September. So all change!

 

During the midst of chaos of completely re-arranging the garden, buying everything in, sourcing the house, choosing the right breeds, checking the neighbours are OK with the situation there's one thing I haven't done and now I'm panicking...... have any of you checked for Covenants in your Deeds to determine if there's anything preventing you from keeping poultry?

 

My neighbours are absolutely fine about me keeping chickens and they have all offered to help out during holidays, etc.

 

So do I need to worry about this?

Have any of you checked yours?

What are the implications if there's something listed?

 

Or should I just forget about it?

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Well, don't quote me on this, but check it out.

 

I was told that most Covenants are only enforceable by whoever first applied them to the house and land. In most cases this will be the builders. Do check that out though as I am not entirely convinced myself that this is the case.

 

Oh, and we never checked the deeds, or asked the neighbours. :oops:

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oo i haven't checked deeds or told the neighbours yet :oops:

although i think the neighbours must know by now as we've spent the weekend building a rather large wir :D and my twin boys have been running round the garden shouting things like " can we sleep in here with the chickens" and "will the chickens play football with us" :lol:

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If there is a covenant it will specify livestock rather than chickens directly

 

I did check and got the solicitors to confirm everything in writing before I bought my house (which cost extra but was worth every penny!)

 

Since you are already in the house its different for you I suppose, if it was me personally I wouldnt check just in case I found out anything I didnt want to know! As long as you own the house and it is not council owned, housing association or rented very few people will bother you for keeping hens

 

If there is a covenant one of your neighbours would have to report you for anything to be done, no one checks our garden after all and if your neighbours are on side there shouldnt be a problem

 

If the worst happens plead ignorance (which is something you can't do if you checked originally :wink: ) and if the very worst happens say they are pets and not livestock (which they are)

 

I would have thought you would need to be causing a terrible nuisance for anyone to even think about taking action against a covenant that may or may not exist!

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Phew - OK - I'm going to plead ignorance then!

 

My neighbours are on side and are eager to get involved so I don't see any issues there.

 

I think Redwing's point about referring to them as pets if asked and not livestock is a great point and I will refer to that if ever needed, they will be that after all.

 

Anyway it's too late, I've chosen my breeds, ordered the house and they all have names - no turning back now :D

 

Panic over - thanks!

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So via another website thread I just found this - bingo!!!!!

 

The Allotments Act 1950, Chapter 31, Section 12 states that regardless of clauses in leases/ tenancies/ covenants/ contracts or agreements to the contrary, the occupier of any land can keep hens and rabbits on it, for their own use, so long as they set up and maintain adequate housing and so long as they make sure that the hens/rabbits don't become a nuisance or pose a threat to health.

 

(Navigate to the Office of Public Sector Information website (opsi.gov.uk) and search for Allotments Act 1950 Chapter 31 to read the full text)

 

Someone via this site has previously sought legal advice and asked whether this means that they could keep chooks in their garden, despite the covenant in their deeds and even though their housing company/developer told them they couldn't - this is what they were told:

 

"the Allotments Act 1950 (and any other Act of Parliament) overrides all other sources of law, apart from European Directives"

 

This means that anyone can keep hens legally and doesn't need to worry about being punished if they do.

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Well, I'm not asking my neighbours - they've caused us so much grief over the past couple of years: building illegal structures without planning permission, causing damage to our property, serious noise issues and whole list of stuff that the council just don't want to know about. It would be typical that they moan at me for keepng a few chickens. Tough - it's my house, my garden, my business. :whistle: The neighbours on both sides of me also keep their gardens like the local dump - grass as tall as on the plains of Africa and weeds and rubbish everywhere - no wonder the foxes like it around here! :roll:

 

What interests me is that, my house being Victorian would probably have had an area for chickens originally as they were commonly kept up to the War and even beyond.

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That is really interesting. Our deeds say no poultry, pigs or pigeons. I ignored it but asked at the town hall if there was a problem and environmental health said not. It is reassuring that the deeds are overriden by that act. Its always been at the back of my mind even though the neighbours are fine about them. Thanks :D (shame it doesn't say pigeons as well as rabbits and chickens :wink: )

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I checked my deeds but not until after i got the chooks. I'm not sure it would have stopped me anyway but you should definately tell your neighbours and get them on board early. Notice i said tell, not ask, really it's none of their business.

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Yes, I definitely "told" my neighbours rather than asking politely. Fortunately one neighbour is used to having chickens, including cockerels next door at a previous house. Apparently she found the cockerel's "cock-a-doodle-do'ing" very relaxing, but no worries there as I won't be getting one, and my other neighbour is completely relaxed about it and has a 17-year old daughter who is "chomping at the bit "to help out and look after them when we are away, so I'm in a very fortunate position.

 

Whilst I don't know if we have a convenant in place (I suspect we would as the house is only 5 years old) it definitely wouldn't stop me, but the details behind the Act give that extra degree of comfort!

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Sorry to rain on your parade, Sammy, but as far as I can see the Act referred to above only applies to allotments. So it wouldn't apply to gardens or other land ... if your neighbours are ok about you keeping chickens, though, you shouldn't have a problem.

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Hi Olly

 

If you take a look at one of my earlier comments the person who had posted this thread on the website I found this on had the Act verified by a Barrister who confirmed that the Act applied to ANY land so overrides a properties convenants.

 

As I say thought my neighbours are fine so all should be OK, I was just interested to see how many people had actually checked into this or whether I was worrying for nothing :lol:

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We were sure that it says in our covenant that you can't keep chickens, but just never checked! (or asked the neighbours) No problems yet! Have fun with your chooks :D

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Always useful to know this :D Not that my neighbours mind though. I think they think I'm a bit mad :lol:

First chickens in the garden, then they were sitting (being nosey) in the front window and I got out of the car with 2 little dogs that looked remarkably like lambs :whistle:

 

Oh and there there was the, *ding dong* "erm Theres a chicken in your garden digging up your flowers but its not mine and I don't know where its come from. But do you want me to catch it" :lol: - she came from up the road

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Hi Olly

 

If you take a look at one of my earlier comments the person who had posted this thread on the website I found this on had the Act verified by a Barrister who confirmed that the Act applied to ANY land so overrides a properties convenants.

:

 

:? Sorry Sammy, I followed the link you posted above - and Egluntine's done a link direct to S.12 - but I couldn't see anything about the barrister's advice. Can you post a link to it?

 

If this were correct it would solve a lot of people's worries. I'd be really interested to see the advice that you mentioned. The Act is stated very specifically to be "An Act to amend the law relating to allotments". I may seem pedantic, but I like to see chapter and verse in these things before breaking out the champagne!

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Hi Olly

 

I don't blame you for wanting to check - that's why I raised this thread in the first place - as I was concerned of the re-percussions.

 

This is the website and forum thread that the discussion takes place on - look for the comments from "Marcelhold" - they are the ones that contacted the Barrister and there's a general discussion around the Act, and a link to the Act that they and I referred to.

Note this particular users concern was originally around the fact he lives next door to a Turkey Producer and has a Convenent as a result preventing him from keeping poultry hence why he checked with a Barrister.

 

http://chat.allotment.org.uk/index.php?topic=35260.0

 

I guess the answer here is check it out for yourself and if really not sure and want to take it that far speak to a Solicitor, but I was sufficiently comforted by what I read, plus the fact my neighbours are more than happy with me keeping chickens.

 

Oh and here's the direct link to Chapter 31 of the Act itself - just scroll down to section 12.

 

http://www.statutelaw.gov.uk/content.aspx?LegType=All+Legislation&searchEnacted=0&extentMatchOnly=0&confersPower=0&blanketAmendment=0&sortAlpha=0&PageNumber=0&NavFrom=0&parentActiveTextDocId=1099691&ActiveTextDocId=1099691&filesize=37910

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Thanks, Sammy!

 

I should just add a word of caution for anyone hoping to rely on this - it's good news that a barrister has said this applies to all land, but that's not as definite as a judge actually confirming that to be the case.

 

Anyone who is facing a challenge from their neighbours or anyone else would be best to get some legal advice. It would be good to quote the details of the Act when getting advice, because solicitors may not be familiar with it.

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I didn't check our deeds - but did phone the local council and was told no problem so long as no cockerals and they were clean.

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I didn't check our deeds - but did phone the local council and was told no problem so long as no cockerals and they were clean.

I didn't phone, but the answer now.

Thanks :lol:

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So via another website thread I just found this - bingo!!!!!

 

The Allotments Act 1950, Chapter 31, Section 12 states that regardless of clauses in leases/ tenancies/ covenants/ contracts or agreements to the contrary, the occupier of any land can keep hens and rabbits on it, for their own use, so long as they set up and maintain adequate housing and so long as they make sure that the hens/rabbits don't become a nuisance or pose a threat to health.

 

(Navigate to the Office of Public Sector Information website (opsi.gov.uk) and search for Allotments Act 1950 Chapter 31 to read the full text)

 

Someone via this site has previously sought legal advice and asked whether this means that they could keep chooks in their garden, despite the covenant in their deeds and even though their housing company/developer told them they couldn't - this is what they were told:

 

"the Allotments Act 1950 (and any other Act of Parliament) overrides all other sources of law, apart from European Directives"

 

This means that anyone can keep hens legally and doesn't need to worry about being punished if they do.

 

Thank you so much for that. I haven't informed one of our neighbours yet and spent the whole evening shushing the four-year old because I was worried about our covenant! They were sat outside and they have been...how should I put it?...awkward in the past *wipes brow* I checked the local council website and it said nothing about chickens at all but I am assuming that as long as I don't cause a nuisance I am fine.

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Littleleicesterfox

 

I also checked the DEFRA website and my local Environmental Health - if you haven't checked there it's worth doing so but otherwise I think a friendly chat with the neighbours and a few eggs every now and again should do the trick!

 

Whilst this Act covers you keeping chickens it doesn't stop a neighbour potentially complaining to Environmental Health who are obliged to come and visit and if felt the chickens were causing a nuisance and/or a health risk, then can ask you to take action to rectify.

 

AND has been said on here before, this is just information I have come across by searching around other sites, if in any doubt always go seek proper professional advice - I'm not a Lawyer.

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Thanks for the heads-up Sammy. TBH my neighbours haven't spotted that one of my dogs tends towards the yappy so I doubt that they're going to be disturbed by the chooks. The very reason I got the eglu is they are well-housed and hygienic and all my food etc is in sealed tubs and so I think environmental health would be satisfied that I have taken sufficient measures to ensure that I am not going to attract vermin and that I am not going to be a nuisance :)

 

They're never there any way, to be honest, so I am probably worrying about nothing but we asked one of our friends who works in law for Steve's company to quicky look at the site last night and he was happy that we would be OK.

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I spoke with a solicitor and the enviromental health regarding a Convenent on the deeds.

 

The solicitor stated that the person who had built the property can change the convenent if still alive, if not, so long as you have under 50 birds and they are housed well, and not causing a breach of the peace then there is no problem. Lets face it, its not a criminal record to keep chickens in your garden.

 

The enviromental health stated that they would not get involved with a complaint of "MY NEIGHBOUR HAS CHICKENS" so long as you dont have more than 50 birds and the complaint is not regarding the welfare of the kept birds, and the noise level is kept to a resonable level (breach of peoples peace) 4am 5am wake up calls.

The worst they said can happen is a home visit, and advice given.

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The covenant on my house states that I am not allowed to use it as a "Lunatic Asylum", so as long as my chicken are sane I guess that is ok!

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