When considering whether a building scheme had been successfully imposed on plots sold off, and in addition to the conditions laid down in Elliston v Reacher, the overall extent of the estate must be clearly identified. In this case it was not so established.
Cozens Hardy MR sad: ‘What are some of the essentials of a building scheme? In my opinion there must be a defined area within which the scheme is operative. Reciprocity is the foundation of the idea of a scheme. A purchaser of one parcel cannot be subject to an implied obligation to purchasers of an undefined and unknown area. He must know both the extent of his burden and the extent of his benefit. Not only must the area be defined, but the obligations to be imposed within that area must be defined. Those obligations need not be identical. For example, there may be houses of a certain value in one part and houses of a different value in another part. A building scheme is not created by the mere fact that the owner of an estate sells it in lots and takes varying covenants from various purchasers. There must be notice to the various purchasers of what I may venture to call the local law imposed by the vendors upon a definite area.’
Buckley LJ: ‘For the application of the principle of that case it is, I think, essential to establish as matter of fact the following state of things: that the vendor expressly or by implication contracted with the defendant in the action or his predecessor in title (whom I will call the purchaser) upon the footing that at the date of that contract the vendor told the purchaser that he was proposing to deal with a defined estate in a defined way, and that he offered to sell to the purchaser a plot forming a part of that defined estate on the terms that the purchaser should enter into such restrictive covenants relating to his plot as the scheme contemplated upon the footing that the purchaser should reciprocally have the benefit of such restrictive covenants relating to the other plots on the estate as were indicated by the scheme. There can be no building scheme unless two conditions are satisfied, namely, first, that defined lands constituting the estate to which the scheme relates shall be identified, and, secondly, that the nature and particulars of the scheme shall be sufficiently disclosed for the purchaser to have been informed that his restrictive covenants are imposed upon him for the benefit of other purchasers of plots within that defined estate with the reciprocal advantage that he shall as against such other purchasers be entitled to the benefit of such restrictive covenants as are in turn to be imposed upon them. Compliance with the first condition identifies the class of persons as between whom reciprocity of obligation is to exist. Compliance with the second discloses the nature of the obligations which are to be mutually enforceable. There must be as between the several purchasers community of interest and reciprocity of obligation.’ and
‘There can be no building scheme unless . . . the nature and particulars of the scheme shall be sufficiently disclosed for the purchaser to have been informed that his restrictive covenants are imposed upon him for the benefit of other purchasers of plots within that defined estate with the reciprocal advantage that he shall as against such other purchasers be entitled to the benefit of such restrictive covenants as are in turn to be imposed upon them.’
Cozens Hardy MR, Buckley LJ
 2 Ch 305, [1908-1910] All E Rep 298
England and Wales
Cited – Elliston v Reacher ChD 1908
The court was asked whether a building scheme had been established.
Held: It had. The court set out the factors which must be shown to establish a building scheme on an estate; Both plaintiff and defendant’s titles must derive from the same . .
Cited – Small v Oliver and Saunders (Developments) Ltd ChD 25-May-2006
The claimant said his property had the benefit of covenants in a building scheme so as to allow him to object to the building of an additional house on a neighbouring plot in breach of a covenant to build only one house on the plot. Most but not all . .
Cited – Lund v Taylor CA 1975
The defendant appealed against a finding that a building scheme was effective over his land. There was no evidence that any purchaser had seen the architect’s plan prepared for the common vendor or was told that the common vendor was proposing to . .
Cited – Turner and Another v Pryce and others ChD 9-Jan-2008
The claimants asserted that they had the benefit of restrictive covenants under a building scheme to prevent the defendants erecting more houses in their neighbouring garden. The defendants pointed to alleged breaches of the same scheme by the . .
Cited – Emile Elias and Co Limited v Pine Groves Limited PC 1993
The parties disputed whether a building scheme had been established. There was no external evidence of the intention of the original parties.
Held: The building scheme was not established over a piece of land comprising five plots because . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 23 March 2022; Ref: scu.219189