Long before municipal zoning by-laws existed, restrictive covenants were used as an effective community planning tool. A restrictive covenant is simply a contract between two neighbouring landowners. In a restrictive covenant, the landowner who obtains the benefit under this contract is called the covenantee, who is anxious to maintain the saleable value of the property. The covenantee acquires the right to restrain the covenantor, the landowner who assumes the burden of the promise, from putting the neighbouring land to certain specified uses.
Restrictive covenants are typically present in most new housing subdivisions under the building scheme. They affect every lot in a subdivision, and are actually a private scheme of town planning. All the parties living in that subdivision possess a common interest to preserve the character and value of all the land in the subdivision. In certain subdivisions, one cannot plant a particular tree on one's property because of the tendency of that particular tree to seek out moisture and eventually grow into a neighbour's basement.
It is important to remember that all restrictive covenants affecting your property would be found on title to your property. Ask your lawyer about any restrictive covenants that may be affecting your property before you decide to purchase a home or paint your current home bright pink.