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We're buying a leasehold flat, where a local council is the freeholder. A deed of covenant is required to be entered into, whereby the new purchasers (us) promise to be bound by the terms of the lease entered into by the original leaseholder - which could of course be many years ago.

Now while the lease requires that this deed of covenant is entered into and sent to the council, it doesn't specify the exact form of words to be used. My solicitor has their own template that can be used, but thinks its better to use the template produced by the Council - the latter is well spaced on a single A4 sheet (its been waved under my nose) and costs a mere £100 for something the council runs off on its photocopier/printer by the ream.

So in reality what can the council do if we don't use its template? Can I insist to my solicitor that their form of words is what we want to use? And is there a standard template available on the internet somewhere that I could check the solicitors template against?

As i understand it the deed is sent to the Council after completion of sale /assignment of the lease. Would we run any significant risk if we go with the solicitors template?
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As i understand it the deed is sent to the Council after completion of sale /assignment of the lease. Would we run any significant risk if we go with the solicitors template?

No, because if the solicitors advice is wrong, they are covered by professional indemnity insurance.

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Provided the deed produced by your solicitors complies with the requirements of the lease its exact format is of no significance whatsoever.

The only time when you need to produce it in a specific format is either when the lease specifies the format (in which case it's usually appended as a schedule to the lease, so you just copy it out) or when it specifically says that the deed must be in a form approved by the landlord. In that event the landlord (or his solicitors) will charge a fee (say £100) for approval, but will often sugggest that you use their pre-approved deed - which will by pure coincidence also cost you £100!

I act for a flat management company, and the format specified by them is as follows:

THIS DEED OF COVENANT is made the 27th day of August 2009
(1) [Manco] ("the Management Company"); and
(2) [insert name]
of [insert address]
(" the Purchaser ")
(A) By a lease (" the Lease") dated the 27th day of August 1989 and made between [Landlord] (1) the Management Company (2) and [insert name] (“the Original Purchaser ") (3) [Landlord] demised the Demised Premises to the Original Purchaser for the term of 999 years from 1st January 1985 subject as more particularly contained in the Lease and subject to the payment of the Rent reserved and the Flat Owner’s Share upon the terms and conditions contained in the Lease.
(B) The Lease contains a covenant by the Original Purchaser not to dispose of the Demised Premises without contemporaneously obtaining the execution of a deed of covenant by the Purchaser with the Management Company in the form of this deed.

1. In this deed unless the context so admits the definitions interpretations agreements and declarations contained in the Lease shall (mutatis mutandis) apply hereto as though they were set out in full in this deed
2. The Purchaser hereby covenants with the Management Company that as from the date of the transfer to the Purchaser of the Demised Premises the Purchaser will pay the Rent and the Flat Owner’s Share and observe and perform the covenants and conditions on the part of the Original Purchaser contained in the Lease
3. The Purchaser hereby applies to the Management Company to become a member of the Management Company.
4. It is hereby declared that if the Purchaser consists of two or more persons all covenants on the part of the Purchaser herein contained shall be deemed to be by such persons jointly and severally

IN WITNESS whereof this document has been executed as Deed the day and year first before written

SIGNED as a deed by the Purchaser etc

I should perhaps add that this document is copyright, and as I'm not in the business of providing free advice to other solicitors it can't be reproduced. However, it should serve to give you an idea of the sort of content that's normally required.
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Many thanks - i'm learning!
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