There was a long lease of land with a dwellinghouse built on it. The lease contained covenants: ‘not to erect or build or cause to be erected or built upon the said piece of ground thereby demised, without the previous license in writing of the lessor parties, ‘any other building whatsoever,’ and ‘not to do or suffer to be done on the said premises or any part thereof any act, matter, or thing which may be or become an annoyance, nuisance, or disturbance to the neighbourhood or to any tenant of the lessor parties.’ A neighbour built a house on neighbouring land in accordance with approved plans. Shortly after he went into occupation the Defendant commenced to erect a substantial trellis-work screen on the northern side of his land fronting the new house. This screen stood on the Defendant’s land about a foot from the boundary fence (which was a brick wall eight feet high) and was fifty-eight feet six inches in length, and stood twelve feet above the boundary wall.
Held: The claim for an injunction succeeded on 2 grounds. The trellis was held to be a building within the meaning of the covenant, and it was an annoyance within the meaning of the covenant.
Romer J said: ‘In the second place, I have no doubt whatever in my own mind, that it is a breach of the covenant that the lessee ‘will not do or suffer to be done on the premises, any act, matter, or thing which might be or become an annoyance to any tenant of the lessor.’ To my mind, undoubtedly, what the Defendant has done is an annoyance to Mr Neale, the tenant of the lessor. I think, in the first place, that it does substantially interfere with the access of light to the windows on the ground floor of this building, and that, notwithstanding some parts of the expert evidence; and I feel satisfied beyond that, and irrespective of that, that it causes an annoyance to Mr Neale, the tenant, within the meaning of the words used in the covenant. It falls within the definition of the word ‘annoyance,’ in a covenant like this, which was given by the three Lords Justices in the case of Tod-Heatly v. Benham 40 Ch. D. 80. In the first place, to adopt the language of Lord Justice Cotton, I am satisfied by the evidence before me that reasonable people, having regard to the ordinary use of Mr Neale’s house for pleasurable enjoyment, would be annoyed and aggrieved by what has been done by the Defendant. It would be an annoyance or grievance to reasonable, sensible people. It is an act which is an interference with the pleasurable enjoyment of the house. Then, to adopt the words of Lord Justice Lindley, I think it does raise an objection in the minds of reasonable men, and is an annoyance within the meaning of the covenant. Lastly, as pointed out by Lord Justice Bowen, ‘ ‘Annoyance’ is a wider term than nuisance, and if you find a thing which reasonably troubles the mind and pleasure, not of a fanciful person or of a skilled person who knows the truth, but of the ordinary sensible English inhabitant of a house – if you find there is anything which disturbs his reasonable peace of mind, that seems to me to be an annoyance, although it may not appear to amount to physical detriment to comfort.’
I have come to the conclusion, therefore, that this is a clear breach of the last-mentioned covenant as well as of the first, and on both grounds I think the Plaintiff is entitled to succeed.’
 3 Ch 671
England and Wales
Cited – Tod-Heatley v Benham 1888
What was ‘annoyance’ between neighbours
The court considered how to construe a covenant in a lease ‘nor do or wittingly or willingly cause or suffer to be done any act, matter, or thing in or upon or about the said premises, which shall or may be or grow to the annoyance, nuisance, . .
Cited – Dennis and Another v Davies (B20 (Ch)) ChD 21-Nov-2008
The claimants sought to enforce a restrictive covenant to restrain a neighbour building an extension.
Held: A building could be a source of annoyance and therefore a breach of the particular covenant. The requirement for the builder’s . .
Cited – Davies v Dennis and Others CA 22-Oct-2009
The land owner appealed against an injunction given to prevent him carrying out building works which the neighbours said would breach a restrictive covenant. The covenants negatived a building scheme.
Held: The appeal failed. Covenants of the . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 11 May 2022; Ref: scu.280410