restrictive covenant

a covenant with a clause that restricts the action of any party to it, esp. an agreement among property owners not to sell to members of particular minority groups.
[1880-85]

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In property law, an agreement acknowledged in a deed or lease that restricts the free use or occupancy of property, such as by forbidding commercial use or certain types of structures.

The restrictive covenant is as old as the law of property, being well-established in Roman law. The term is also used in business law to refer to an agreement whereby one party promises not to engage in the same business or a similar business in a particular area for a period of time.

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law
      in Anglo-American property law, an agreement limiting the use of property. Known to Roman law but little used in England or the United States until the 19th century, restrictive covenants are now widely used. To protect property values and provide neighbourhood stability, residential developments commonly include covenants prohibiting nonresidential uses of the properties and specifying the types of dwellings and uses permitted, such as detached houses for single-family use. Commercial developments often restrict the types of permissible businesses. Government agencies and nonprofit organizations use restrictive covenants to preserve open space, farmland, historic structures, and wildlife habitats and to limit uses of land that contains hazardous materials. Restrictive covenants on property can be enforced in court by owners of other properties in the same real estate development and are often enforceable by homeowner or property-owner associations.

      Covenants can be used for any purpose that is not illegal, unconstitutional, or against public policy. Racially exclusive restrictive covenants, which were widely used in the United States during the first half of the 20th century, were declared unenforceable in 1948 by the Supreme Court (Supreme Court of the United States) under the equal protection clause of the Constitution's 14th Amendment. U.S. federal law now prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, colour, religion, sex, national origin, or handicap and allows discrimination against children only in qualifying senior-citizen communities. State and local laws also prohibit a variety of restrictive covenants. See also servitude.

Susan French
 

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Universalium. 2010.

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