Local Occupancy Clauses

Local Occupancy Clauses are placed on some residential properties. The underlying reason for most of these clauses is to prevent the properties being used as a second or holiday home and to maintain a resident population within the area. The secondary effect is that by reducing the possible owners of these properties the demand is reduced, and normally the value, making these types of properties appear cheaper than their unrestricted counterparts.

The covenants tend to fall into one of two categories.

1)      Ex-local authority owned housing sold under the right to buy scheme will often carry a restriction limiting its occupation to those who have already lived or worked in Cumbria for the previous three years. For example, in the case of a Section 106 local occupancy covenant the restriction remains on the house when the property is sold, so the new owner will need to have been living or working within the defined area for 3 years.

2)      Recently built housing or converted dwellings may attract a local occupancy clause during the planning process and when the residential unit is built a condition of the planning permission is that the occupant must comply with certain conditions. These clauses have been altered over the years and there are many variations however they all state that it must be the occupant’s main/principal residence and that they have either lived in the given area for a period of time (defined in the clause) or coming to live and work permanently in the area. The area may vary and indeed there are differing phrases which widen or reduce the scope of qualification. Each property which is sold with a local occupancy clause should have the specific wording on the brochure to allow interested parties to see if they qualify.

The definition of ”the area” may vary from one clause to another. The best advice is to seek clarification from the agent for each property.

It is worth noting that this policy has been active for over 20 years now and apart from the rare exceptions, any new approved planning permissions for new dwellings within the Lake District National Park will have an occupancy clause.