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Section 157 restriction
This advice is for people who want to buy, sell or rent a property with a s157 restriction.
The s157 restriction applies to many properties sold under the Right to Buy by North Norfolk District Council before March 2006.
The s157 restriction requires that a prospective purchaser must have lived or worked in Norfolk for at least three years (without a break) at the date of purchase.
In the case of joint purchasers only one of the purchasers needs to have lived or worked in Norfolk for three years before their purchase.
The s157 restriction also applies if the owner lets the property. The tenants must have previously lived or worked in Norfolk for the three years before starting their tenancy.
The s157 restriction provides a pool of properties available for purchasers (and tenants) who have connections through residence or work to Norfolk. The s157 restriction should not prevent a property owner from selling or letting their property.
Properties likely to have a s157 restriction
A s157 restriction applies to individual properties. If you are unsure whether your property has a s157 restriction you should seek legal advice.
In most cases the restriction only applies to properties in the rural parts of North Norfolk and to properties which fall within one of the Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Selling a property with a Section 157 Restriction
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 when they advertise the property for sale.
Once you have agreed a sale it is the responsibility of the purchaser’s solicitor to obtain the Council’s permission for the buyers to proceed with their purchase.
Guidance for Estate Agents and Letting Agents
If you are advertising a property for sale that is subject to a s157 restriction, we advise you to make clear in any sales literature that the purchaser is required to have lived or worked in Norfolk for at least three years at the date of purchase. The s157 covenant on the property requires Council approval of a prospective purchaser. By providing clear information in your advertising, you reduce the risk of disappointment and save wasted time and costs.
A purchaser of a property subject to a s157 restriction, is required by the Council to sign an undertaking to use the property as their principal home, or to let it as a principal home to someone who meets the s157 restriction criteria (see below). This means that a property with a s157 restriction can never be used as a second or holiday home.
Section 157 restrictions apply to lettings as well. A prospective tenant must have lived or worked in Norfolk for three years at the tenancy start date.
Guidance for Purchaser’s Solicitor
The Council will approve the purchase if the purchaser can show they have lived and/or worked in Norfolk for the three years to the date of purchase. To process the approval the Council requires:
- Your undertaking to pay the Council’s legal fees, estimated at £250 plus VAT.
- Official copy register entries and title plan.
- Copy of the original right to buy conveyance.
- Full names and address of the proposed purchaser together with evidence to show the purchaser has lived and/or worked in Norfolk for the last three years. This evidence must cover the full three years up to the current date with no gaps.
- Confirmation that the purchaser intends to live in the property, or
- If the purchaser intends to let the property the purchaser must sign an undertaking to let to people who will meet the s157 restriction.
Contact the Council’s legal team, Eastlaw on 01263 516057 or email email@example.com.