Did you know that some residential blocks of land come with restrictions? Yep, the kind of restrictions that dictate what you can and can not build. These bad boys are called Covenants!
Now I am going to try and explain this the best I can but I should state for the record that I am not in any means an expert on land matters or land law. In fact, I don’t know anything at all about land buying legalities but I have bought land before and this is my understanding of what land covenants are.
WHAT ARE LAND COVENANTS?
The easiest way to define what a covenant is would be to say that a covenant is an obligation that comes with the purchase of a block of land. This obligation can affect you as a buyer in the short term or long term. If it’s a short term restriction, the landowners may be required to do an act once; such as building a certain type of fence, or maybe restrict them from having a fence at all.
LONG TERM COVENANTS
It is also very important to remember that restrictive covenants can also affect the landowner long term. For example, the land could have a covenant that states that the buyer accepts all the issues that can come with the land. Maybe the land is positioned in a very noisy location due to a major road or an airplane path. Now, this may be a BIG problem for people like me who had a tight budget when building our first home because a noise covenant is that it may require you to upgrade all windows, walls, etc to make the house acoustically sound.
HOW TO AVOID RESTRICTIVE LAND COVENANTS
So here’s the big question; how do you avoid nasty covenant surprises and save your self some money? Easy! Insist on a land check or title check before buying any piece of land. Your settlement agent can organize this for you.
When my husband and I bought our land, we were super lucky to have a thorough settlement agent who actually recommended that we do a tittle check on the block we wanted before settlement. We knew nothing about this check beforehand, so thank God our agent knew what she was doing. This check cost us a few hundred dollars but I reckon it was totally worth it because we knew exactly what we were buying, what “issues” the land had and what we would be allowed to do when the block is finally OUR land.