THE TIE THAT BINDS: Covenants and Equitable Servitudes, Christine E. Nicholas


Christine E. Nicholas

Introduction. As a real estate attorney, I am often called upon to draft covenants and equitable servitudes in connection with the development of client property. Common in contemporary land development practice in the United States, a covenant typically refers to restrictions created in contracts, like deeds of conveyance. “Covenants, conditions, and restrictions,” commonly abbreviated “CC&Rs” or “CCRs,” are a system of covenants affecting all of the lots in a common subdivision, whether a residential subdivision or a commercial subdivision. Sometimes required by municipal code as a condition to obtaining government approval for the right to subdivide property, covenant drafting is a balance between satisfying legal requirements granted for subdivision rights, the developer’s marketing and revenue goals, and lot-owners’ desire to control their real property and be free from extensive “private regulation” of their use and enjoyment of their lot.

CCRs might, for example, dictate building and roofing materials, require buildings be a minimum square footage, require approval of building design, allow homes to be painted only certain colors, restrict fencing materials, require a certain amount of landscaping, require a certain number of bushes and trees, require a certain minimum caliper tree, or place restrictions on whether a home can have a basketball hoop attached to it, whether RVs or campers can be parked in the driveway and restrict how long a garage door can remain open. The purpose of these regulations is to maintain a neighborhood character or prevent improper use of the land.

So, what exactly is a covenant?…Click here to read the entire article:..The Tie that Binds – Covenants and Eq Servitudes