Question: I have inherited a house with a big garden. I am hoping to sell it but my estate agent says I need to include an "uplift or overage clause" in the sale contract because the buyer might be able to get planning permission to build another house — or even two — on the garden space. The agent says he can negotiate this on my behalf, but frankly I don't know what he is talking about. Can you explain?
© merrily harpur
Answer: You can benefit from your buyer getting planning permission and developing the land in the future by having such a clause in the contract.
The clause will say that should your buyer at some stage get permission to build on any part of the garden, you will receive a percentage of the increased value of the property. So do let your estate agent negotiate an agreement to ensure that if planning permission is given, you will get your cut.
The clause will need to be for a fixed time, often 21 years, and it must say how you are to be paid the money. But also get a solicitor with experience of "overage" involved to ensure the clause is perfectly worded. It can be a complicated business and you don't want to lose out because of unclear wording.
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Fiona is a partner in the residential real estate team at Thring LLP www.thrings.com.