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Covenant

COVENANT

An agreement, contract, or written promise between two individuals that frequently constitutes a pledge to do or refrain from doing something.

The individual making the promise or agreement is known as the covenantor, and the individual to whom such promise is made is called the covenantee.

Covenants are really a type of contractual arrangement that, if validly reached, is enforceable by a court. They can be phrased so as to prohibit certain actions and in such cases are sometimes called negative covenants.

There are two major categories of covenants in the law governing real property transactions: covenants running with the land and covenants for title.

Covenants Running with the Land

A covenant is said to run with the land in the event that the covenant is annexed to the estate and cannot be separated from the land or the land transferred without it. Such a covenant exists if the original owner as well as each successive owner of the property is either subject to its burden or entitled to its benefit. A covenant running with the land is said to touch and concern the property. For example, an individual might own property subject to the restriction that it is only to be used for church purposes. When selling the land, the person can only do so upon an agreement by the buyer that he or she, too, will only use the land for church purposes. The land is thereby burdened or encumbered by a restrictive covenant, since the covenant specifically limits the use to which the land can be put. In addition, the covenant runs with the land because it remains attached to it despite subsequent changes in its ownership. This type of covenant is also called a covenant appurtenant.

Certain easements also run with the land. An easement, for example, that permits one landowner to walk across a particular portion of the property of an adjoining landowner in order to gain access to the street would run with the land. Subsequent owners of both plots would take the land subject to such easement.

A covenant in gross is unlike a covenant running with the land in that it is personal, binding only the particular owner and not the land itself. A subsequent owner is not required to keep the promise as one would with a covenant appurtenant.

Covenants for Title

When an individual obtains title to, or possession and ownership of, real property, six covenants are ordinarily afforded to him or her. They are (1) covenant for seisin; (2) covenant of the right to convey; (3) covenant against encumbrances; (4) covenant for quiet enjoyment; (5) covenant of general warranty; and (6) covenant for further assurances.

A deed to real property that provides for usual covenants generally includes the first five of these covenants. When a deed provides for full covenants, it is regarded as giving such protection as is extended pursuant to all six covenants.

Covenants for seisin and of the right to convey are ordinarily regarded as being the same thing. Essentially, they make a guarantee to the grantee that the grantor is actually the owner of the estate that he or she is transferring.

The covenant against encumbrances promises to the grantee that the property being conveyed is not subject to any outstanding rights or interests by other parties, such as mortgages, liens, easements, profits, or restrictions on its

use that would diminish its value. The existence of zoning restrictions do not constitute breach of this covenant; however, the existence of a violation of some type of zoning or building restriction might be regarded as a breach thereof.

The covenants of quiet enjoyment and general warranty both have the legal effect of protecting the grantee against all unlawful claims of others, including the grantor and third parties, who might attempt to effect an actual or constructive eviction of the grantee.

The sixth covenant, which is the covenant for further assurances, is not widely used in the United States. It is an agreement by the grantor to perform any further necessary acts within his or her ability to perfect the grantee's title.

The first three covenants of title ordinarily do not run with the land, since they become personal choses in action—rights to initiate a lawsuit—if breached upon delivery of the deed. The others are covenants appurtenant or run with the land and are enforceable by all grantees of the land.

In order to recover on the basis of a breach of a covenant of title, financial loss must actually be sustained by the covenantee, since such covenants are contracts of indemnity. In most jurisdictions, the maximum amount of damages recoverable for such a breach is the purchase price of the land plus interest.

Purposes

Land use planning is often effected through the use of covenants. Covenants facilitate the creation of particular types of neighborhoods as part of a neighborhood plan. A housing developer might, for example, buy up vacant land to divide into building lots. A low price is paid for the undeveloped land, which the developer subsequently sells burdened with a number of restrictive covenants. The developer might stipulate in the contract of sale that the owner must retain the original size of a lot. Developers can also make owners agree that houses to be constructed upon the lots must be larger than a certain size and include other specifications to ensure that such property will more than likely sell for premium prices because of the desirability of the neighborhood. Courts enforce such covenants provided they benefit and burden all the property owners in a neighborhood equally.

Covenants will not, however, be enforced if they are intended to accomplish an illegal purpose. The Supreme Court ruled in Shelley v. Kraemer, 334 U.S. 1, 68 S. Ct. 836, 92 L. Ed. 1161 (1948), that no court or state officials have the power under law to take any action toward the enforcement of a racial covenant. In this case, a group of neighbors were bringing suit to prohibit a property owner from selling his home to blacks, based on the argument that the owner had purchased the home subject to the restrictive covenant not to sell to blacks. The covenant was found to be unenforceable based on equal housing laws. To enforce it would constitute a civil rights violation.

further readings

Bell, Cedric D. 2000. The Law of Real Property. London: Old Bailey.

Brinig, Margaret F., and Steven Nock. 1999. "Covenant and Contract." Regent University Law Review 12 (spring): 9–26.

Kraut, Jayson, et al. 1983. American Jurisprudence. Rochester, N.Y.: Lawyers Cooperative.

cross-references

Chose in Action; Easement; Encumbrance; Estate.

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covenant

covenant (kŭv´ənənt), agreement entered into voluntarily by two or more parties to do or refrain from doing certain acts. In the Bible and in theology the covenant is the agreement or engagement of God with man as revealed in the Scriptures. In law a covenant is a contract under seal or an agreement by deed. In Scottish history the various pacts among the religious opponents of episcopacy were called covenants; those who agreed to the pacts were the Covenanters. The idea of the covenant between God of Israel and His people is fundamental to the religion of the Old Testament. God promised man specific good if man gave God the obedience and love due Him. In the covenant of God and Noah, He agreed never again to destroy man by a flood and set the rainbow in the sky as the sign of the covenant. Gen. 9. The covenants with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob established Israel as God's chosen people and promised Canaan to them. Gen. 17; 26.1–5; 28.10–15; 32.24–32. The culmination of God's covenants with Israel comes in His promises and delivery of the Law of Moses. This provides the theme of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. The great covenant with Israel is called in Christian theology the Old Covenant, because Jesus is believed to have come to fulfill it and set up a new and better covenant. Mat. 5.17, 18; Gal. 4; Heb. 8–10. This theology is behind the conventional names of the two parts of the Bible; for testament in the expressions "Old Testament" and "New Testament" is derived from a Latin mistranslation of a Greek word used in the Septuagint for covenant. In Protestant theology the covenant is especially prominent in the teaching of Johannes Cocceius. In English common law, covenants are agreements entered into by deed. One of the parties promises to perform or not to perform certain acts, or states that something has or will be done, or has not or will not be done. Covenants are bound by the same rules as other contracts and are variously classified. There are affirmative, alternative, auxiliary, collateral, concurrent, declarative, dependent, executory, express, and independent covenants, and covenants in law are covenants for title, covenants of seizin, covenants of warranty, and others. The express promise contained in a covenant is its most characteristic feature and distinguishes it from a bond, which is a simple record of indebtedness. The sealing and delivery of a covenant is an essential element of its validity. The covenantor is the party bound to perform the stipulation of a covenant; the covenantee is the party in whose favor the covenant is made.

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Covenanters

Covenanters (kəvənăn´tərz), in Scottish history, groups of Presbyterians bound by oath to sustain each other in the defense of their religion. The first formal Covenant was signed in 1557, signaling the beginning of the Protestant effort to seize power in Scotland. It was renewed thereafter at times of crisis, most notably in the 17th cent. The National Covenant of 1638 aimed to unite the Scots in opposition to the episcopal innovations of King Charles I and William Laud, especially the adaptation for Scottish use of the English Book of Common Prayer. The Covenanters successfully resisted the king's armies in the Bishops' Wars (1639–40). In the English civil war they supported the parliamentary party only after the English Parliament had accepted (1643) the Solemn League and Covenant, which provided for the eventual establishment of a Presbyterian state church in England and Ireland as well as in Scotland. After the first civil war, however, the Independents in the English army secured control of affairs and prevented implementation of the Covenant. The Scots, therefore, concluded the agreement known as the "Engagement" with Charles I, by which the king agreed to establish Presbyterianism in England if restored to the throne. As a result, the Covenanters fought for Charles I in the second civil war (1648) and, after his execution (1649), they fought for Charles II, who also subscribed (1650) to the Solemn League and Covenant. They were subdued, however, by Oliver Cromwell's conquest of Scotland (1650–51). After the Restoration (1660), Charles II resumed his father's effort to impose episcopacy in Scotland. The Covenanters were subjected to alternate attempts to conciliate them and to hunt them down. The result was a series of new compacts of resistance among them and new attempts to suppress them. A rebellion in 1679, which culminated in a rout at Bothwell Bridge, was met with harsh repression, as was the resistance of Richard Cameron and his followers, who issued the Sanquhar Declaration in 1680. The troubles ended with the Glorious Revolution of 1688, which restored the Presbyterian Church in Scotland.

See study by J. D. Douglas (1964).

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Covenant

Covenant

Judaism

In the Bible, covenants were established between individuals, between marriage partners and between God and Israel. Circumcision itself is frequently known as berit (covenant).

Christianity

The term ‘New Testament’ (Lat., testamentum = ‘covenant’) underlines how early Christians saw themselves in a new covenant.

‘Covenant theology’, or ‘federal theology’ (Lat. foedus, ‘covenant’), was a particular development of the New Testament doctrine in Calvinism in the 16th–17th cents.

Islam

The Qurʾān speaks of a covenant made in pre-existence with all of humanity, (7. 171) with Adam (20. 115), with the prophets (3. 81), with the Children of Israel (5. 13, 2. 83, 3. 187), and with the Christians (5. 15). The actual terms of the covenants are not specified in detail, but imply the belief in, and worship and service of, the One God.

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covenant

cov·e·nant / ˈkəvənənt/ • n. an agreement. ∎  Law a contract drawn up by deed. ∎  Law a clause in a contract. ∎  Theol. an agreement that brings about a relationship of commitment between God and his people. • v. [intr.] agree, esp. by lease, deed, or other legal contract: the landlord covenants to repair the property. DERIVATIVES: cov·e·nan·tal / ˌkəvəˈnantl/ adj. cov·e·nant·er (also chiefly Law cov·e·nan·tor) n.

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covenant

covenant in theology, an agreement which brings about a relationship of commitment between God and his people. The Jewish faith is based on the biblical covenants made with Abraham, Moses, and David. In Christian theology, the New Covenant is the covenant between God and the followers of Christ, and the Old Covenant is the covenant between God and Israel in the Old Testament.

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covenant

covenant mutual agreement; divine contract with mankind XIII; legal agreement or contract XIV. — OF. covenant (later and mod. convenant), sb. use of prp. of co(n)venir agree (see CONVENE).
Hence as vb. XIV.

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covenant

covenantabeyant, mayn't •ambient, circumambient •gradient, irradiant, radiant •expedient, ingredient, mediant, obedient •valiant • salient • resilient • emollient •defoliant • ebullient • suppliant •convenient, intervenient, lenient, prevenient •sapient •impercipient, incipient, percipient, recipient •recreant • variant • miscreant •Orient • nutrient •esurient, luxuriant, parturient, prurient •nescient, prescient •omniscient • insouciant • renunciant •officiant • negotiant • deviant •subservient • transient •affiant, Bryant, client, compliant, defiant, giant, pliant, reliant •buoyant, clairvoyant, flamboyant •fluent, pursuant, truant •affluent • effluent • mellifluent •confluent • circumfluent • congruent •issuant • continuant • constituent •lambent • absorbent •incumbent, recumbent •couchant • merchant • hadn't •ardent, guardant, regardant •pedant •appendant, ascendant, attendant, codependent, defendant, descendant, descendent, intendant, interdependent, pendant, pendent, splendent, superintendent, transcendent •antecedent, decedent, needn't, precedent •didn't • diffident • confident •accident • dissident •coincident, incident •oxidant • evident •improvident, provident •president, resident •strident, trident •co-respondent, correspondent, despondent, fondant, respondent •accordant, concordant, discordant, mordant, mordent •rodent •imprudent, jurisprudent, prudent, student •couldn't, shouldn't, wouldn't •impudent •abundant, redundant •decadent • verdant • infant • elephant •triumphant • sycophant • elegant •fumigant • congregant • litigant •termagant • arrogant • extravagant •pageant •cotangent, plangent, tangent •argent, Sargent, sergeant •agent • newsagent • regent •astringent, contingent, stringent •indigent • intelligent • negligent •diligent • intransigent • exigent •cogent •effulgent, fulgent, indulgent •pungent •convergent, detergent, divergent, emergent, insurgent, resurgent, urgent •bacchant • peccant • vacant • piquant •predicant • mendicant • significant •applicant • supplicant • communicant •lubricant • desiccant • intoxicant •gallant, talent •appellant, propellant, propellent, repellent, water-repellent •resemblant •assailant, inhalant •sealant • sibilant • jubilant •flagellant • vigilant • pestilent •silent •Solent, volant •coolant • virulent • purulent •ambulant, somnambulant •coagulant • crapulent • flatulent •feculent • esculent • petulant •stimulant • flocculent • opulent •postulant • fraudulent • corpulent •undulant •succulent, truculent •turbulent • violent • redolent •indolent • somnolent • excellent •insolent • nonchalant •benevolent, malevolent, prevalent •ambivalent, equivalent •garment • clement • segment •claimant, clamant, payment, raiment •ailment •figment, pigment •fitment • aliment • element •oddment •dormant, informant •moment • adamant • stagnant •lieutenant, pennant, subtenant, tenant •pregnant, regnant •remnant • complainant •benignant, indignant, malignant •recombinant • contaminant •eminent •discriminant, imminent •dominant, prominent •illuminant, ruminant •determinant • abstinent •continent, subcontinent •appurtenant, impertinent, pertinent •revenant •component, deponent, exponent, opponent, proponent •oppugnant, repugnant •immanent •impermanent, permanent •dissonant • consonant • alternant •covenant • resonant • rampant •discrepant • flippant • participant •occupant • serpent •apparent, arrant, transparent •Arendt •aberrant, deterrent, errant, inherent, knight-errant •entrant •declarant, parent •grandparent • step-parent •godparent •flagrant, fragrant, vagrant •registrant • celebrant • emigrant •immigrant • ministrant • aspirant •antiperspirant • recalcitrant •integrant • tyrant • vibrant • hydrant •migrant, transmigrant •abhorrent, torrent, warrant •quadrant • figurant • obscurant •blackcurrant, concurrent, currant, current, occurrent, redcurrant •white currant • cross-current •undercurrent •adherent, coherent, sederunt •exuberant, protuberant •reverberant • denaturant •preponderant • deodorant •different, vociferant •belligerent, refrigerant •accelerant • tolerant • cormorant •itinerant • ignorant • cooperant •expectorant • adulterant •irreverent, reverent •nascent, passant •absent •accent, relaxant •acquiescent, adolescent, albescent, Besant, coalescent, confessant, convalescent, crescent, depressant, effervescent, erubescent, evanescent, excrescent, flavescent, fluorescent, immunosuppressant, incandescent, incessant, iridescent, juvenescent, lactescent, liquescent, luminescent, nigrescent, obsolescent, opalescent, pearlescent, phosphorescent, pubescent, putrescent, quiescent, suppressant, tumescent, turgescent, virescent, viridescent •adjacent, complacent, obeisant •decent, recent •impuissant, reminiscent •Vincent • puissant •beneficent, maleficent •magnificent, munificent •Millicent • concupiscent • reticent •docent •lucent, translucent •discussant, mustn't •innocent •conversant, versant •consentient, sentient, trenchant •impatient, patient •ancient • outpatient •coefficient, deficient, efficient, proficient, sufficient •quotient • patent •interactant, reactant •disinfectant, expectant, protectant •repentant • acceptant •contestant, decongestant •sextant •blatant, latent •intermittent •assistant, coexistent, consistent, distant, equidistant, existent, insistent, persistent, resistant, subsistent, water-resistant •instant •cohabitant, habitant •exorbitant • militant • concomitant •impenitent, penitent •palpitant • crepitant • precipitant •competent, omnicompetent •irritant • incapacitant • Protestant •hesitant • visitant • mightn't • octant •remontant • constant •important, oughtn't •accountant • potent •mutant, pollutant •adjutant • executant • disputant •reluctant •consultant, exultant, resultant •combatant • omnipotent • impotent •inadvertent •Havant, haven't, savant, savante •advent •irrelevant, relevant •pursuivant • solvent • convent •adjuvant •fervent, observant, servant •manservant • maidservant •frequent, sequent •delinquent • consequent •subsequent • unguent • eloquent •grandiloquent, magniloquent •brilliant • poignant • hasn't •bezant, omnipresent, peasant, pheasant, pleasant, present •complaisant • malfeasant • isn't •cognizant • wasn't • recusant •doesn't

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