A “covenant” is a promise and a “real covenant” or “covenant runnig with the land” is a promise relating to land.  Specifically, it is a private written agreement made between landowners to restrict the use of real estate.  The party making the promise (assuming the burden) is the promisor or obligor, and the pary receiving the promise (the right to enforce the benefit) is the obligee or promisee.

A covenant which goes with the land, as being annexed to the estate, and which cannot be separated from the land, and transferred without it.

“English common law recognized the right of owners of neighboring land to enter into agreements to restrict the uses of their respective properties in ways that were mutually beneficial to each. (See Note, Covenants and Equitable Servitudes in California (1978) 29 Hastings L.J. 545, 546.) When they did, their contracts were enforceable between them, but could not be enforced contractually against their successors in interest absent an assignment of rights by the contracting parties. (Ibid.) Eventually the English law courts recognized a need for continuing enforcement of promises respecting land use, and by the mid-16th century developed a rule of property law that permitted agreements by landowners restricting the use of real property to ‘run with the land’ and bind future owners. (Spencer’s Case (1583 Q.B.) 77 Eng.Rep. 72; 5 Powell on Real Property (1995) Covenants as to Use, § 670[2], p. 60-12.) Such an agreement, termed a “covenant running with the land,” was enforceable against future landowners only if certain strict requirements were met. (5 Powell on Real Property, supra, § 673[2], p. 60-46 et seq.)”  Citizens of Covenant Compliance v. Anderson, 906 P.2d 1314 (Cal. 1995)

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