Property use – What are restrictive covenants?

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    Property use – What are restrictive covenants?


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    In a previous article we discussed municipal zoning by-laws and how they can present limits on your use of your property. Zoning by-laws, however, are not the only source of regulations that impact what an owner can do with their property. In this article we will take a brief look at “restrictive covenants” and their potential effect on property ownership.

    Restrictive covenants operate in addition to municipal zoning by-laws in controlling the use and appearance of property, and were originally developed before the emergence of zoning by-laws. Restrictive covenants are implemented by the developers of a given subdivision to maintain consistency among various properties in the neighborhood, and therefore they will affect every lot in a subdivision. This is done in order to preserve the value of all the land in the subdivision. Some examples of the limitations that restrictive covenants can place on property use range from such things as the colours that a garage door may not be painted, to what materials may not be used for fencing, restrictions on multi-unit dwellings, and what types of trees may not be planted.

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