Understanding Restrictive Covenants in Property Rights Law

Property agreements are contracts between two or more parties that dictate the specific use of immovable property. These agreements can either benefit or burden the landowner, with the latter known as restrictive covenants. These clauses are typically created by developers and applied to a group of properties or batches, dictating construction requirements, cosmetic regulations, and unauthorized uses. Restrictive covenants are not extinguished with the transfer of ownership, and they act as “negative easements” that prohibit the burdened landlord from doing anything, rather than granting the beneficiary party a right of use.

When considering buying property in a subdivision, it is important to carefully review all documents related to the property to identify restrictive agreements. A thorough examination of the land title registry will reveal restrictions on how you can use your property. Rights granted under easements, in which a landlord allows one of the parties to use a portion of their property in some way, are usually not transferred. These rights are linked to the land and not to the owner, and they pass from one deed to another as land is transferred from one owner to another.

If the owner later sells his land, any drilling rights granted to an oil company would remain with the land. The key to understanding restrictive covenants in property rights law is gathering evidence necessary to persuade the court to exercise its discretion granted under the Property Law Act. It is important to note that an affirmative covenant establishes something that landlords are required to do, while a restrictive covenant describes something that landlords must refrain from doing.