Land covenants are a mechanism used commonly by either land owners selling land and wanting to restrict its use, particularly if they are retaining neighbouring land, or to record agreed restrictions as between neighbours of adjoining property.
There are a number of reasons why land owners may wish to restrict the use of land. One example is a land owner selling part of their land and wishing to restrict the type and quality of buildings constructed on the land being sold. Other examples are height restrictions that may be protecting a view or limiting the height of a tree. While land covenants can be restrictive, they may also mean that the land gaining the benefit of the land covenant will be more valuable, particularly for future resale. In today's environment it would be very rare indeed for lots in a new subdivision not to be subject to a number of restrictions on the use.
Restriction on the use of land is achieved by registering land covenants against the title to the affected land. A covenant is a promise which creates a legal obligation by someone to do, or not to do something in respect of that land. This promise is tied to the ownership of the land. The document creating a land covenant details the restrictions, and also describes the affected land. The land covenant document is registered against the title to both the land benefiting from the land covenant (the dominant land), and also the land that bears the burden of the land covenant (the servient land). Once the land covenant is registered, any purchasers buying land can search a copy of that document and review the covenants affecting that property.
In addition please also note the following points:
By Anne Needham from Rennie Cox Urban Legal
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