A restrictive covenant is a promise by one person with another, for example, by a buyer of land with a seller, not to do certain things with the land, such as to build on it or use it as a shop or factory.
Restrictive covenants are basically a form of private planning control. They place restrictions on the development or use of land, for the benefit of another piece of land, and are enforceable by one landowner against another. Listed in the Charges Register of the Title Deeds, Restrictive Covenants bind the land and not the buyer personally and therefore "runs with the land". This means that the covenant continues even when the buyer sells the land on to another person. Restrictive covenants also continue to have effect even though they were made many years ago and appear to be obsolete.
Restrictive covenants often allow surrounding property owners, who have similar covenants in their deeds, to enforce the terms of the covenants in a court of law. They are intended to enhance property values by controlling development
Land developers typically use restrictive covenants when they subdivide property for residential developments. A land developer, after subdividing the land into lots, blocks, and streets, will impose certain limitations on the use of the lots in the development. These may include a provision restricting construction to single-family dwellings with no detached outbuildings, as well as specifying that the dwellings are to be built at least a specified distance from the street and from the side and back lot lines, commonly called a "set back" requirement. Another common restrictive covenant specifies a minimum square footage for dwellings. There may be a variety of other restrictive covenants that seek to control the way the development looks and is maintained. A person who purchases a property in a development with restrictive covenants must honour the limitations. When the purchaser resells the property to a buyer, the new owner will take the property subject to the restrictive covenants.
If a person violates or attempts to violate one or more of the covenants, a person who is benefited by the covenants, usually an adjacent property owner, may sue to enforce the restrictions
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