Equitable servitude

Last updated

An equitable servitude is a term used in the law of real property to describe a nonpossessory interest in land that operates much like a covenant running with the land. However, covenants and equitable servitudes should not be confused. One may tell the difference based on the remedy plaintiff seeks. Holders of a covenant seek money damages, but holders of equitable servitudes seek injunctions. In England, when a party is forbidden from certain use, the covenant is called equitable servitude. In the United States, both negative and affirmative equitable servitudes are recognized. It is a covenant that equity will enforce against the successors of the burdened land who have notice of the covenant.

Law System of rules and guidelines, generally backed by governmental authority

Law is a system of rules that are created and enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior. It has been defined both as "the Science of Justice" and "the Art of Justice". Law is a system that regulates and ensures that individuals or a community adhere to the will of the state. State-enforced laws can be made by a collective legislature or by a single legislator, resulting in statutes, by the executive through decrees and regulations, or established by judges through precedent, normally in common law jurisdictions. Private individuals can create legally binding contracts, including arbitration agreements that may elect to accept alternative arbitration to the normal court process. The formation of laws themselves may be influenced by a constitution, written or tacit, and the rights encoded therein. The law shapes politics, economics, history and society in various ways and serves as a mediator of relations between people.

Real property legal term; property consisting of land and the buildings on it

In English common law, real property, real estate, realty, or immovable property is land which is the property of some person and all structures integrated with or affixed to the land, including crops, buildings, machinery, wells, dams, ponds, mines, canals, and roads, among other things. The term is historic, arising from the now-discontinued form of action, which distinguished between real property disputes and personal property disputes. Personal property was, and continues to be, all property that is not real property.

A nonpossessory interest in land is a term of the law of property to describe any of a category of rights held by one person to use land that is in the possession of another. Such rights can generally be created in one of two ways: either by an express agreement between the party who owns the land and the party who seeks to own the interest; or by an order of a court.

Contents

Creation

An equitable servitude must be created by a writing, unless it is a negative equitable servitude that may be implied from a common scheme for the development of a residential subdivision, so long as landowners have notice of the agreement. Implied negative servitudes, however, are not recognized in some states, such as Massachusetts and California.

Massachusetts State of the United States of America

Massachusetts, officially the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is the most populous state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It borders on the Atlantic Ocean to the east, the states of Connecticut and Rhode Island to the south, New Hampshire and Vermont to the north, and New York to the west. The state is named after the Massachusett tribe, which once inhabited the east side of the area, and is one of the original thirteen states. The capital of Massachusetts is Boston, which is also the most populous city in New England. Over 80% of Massachusetts's population lives in the Greater Boston metropolitan area, a region influential upon American history, academia, and industry. Originally dependent on agriculture, fishing and trade, Massachusetts was transformed into a manufacturing center during the Industrial Revolution. During the 20th century, Massachusetts's economy shifted from manufacturing to services. Modern Massachusetts is a global leader in biotechnology, engineering, higher education, finance, and maritime trade.

California State of the United States of America

California is a state in the Pacific Region of the United States. With 39.6 million residents, California is the most populous U.S. state and the third-largest by area. The state capital is Sacramento. The Greater Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second and fifth most populous urban regions, with 18.7 million and 9.7 million residents respectively. Los Angeles is California's most populous city, and the country's second most populous, after New York City. California also has the nation's most populous county, Los Angeles County, and its largest county by area, San Bernardino County. The City and County of San Francisco is both the country's second-most densely populated major city after New York City and the fifth-most densely populated county, behind only four of the five New York City boroughs.

Burden

A successor of the promisor is bound if the original promise is in writing, the covenanting parties intended the servitude to be enforceable by and against assignees, the successor of the promisor has actual, inquiry (record), or constructive notice of the servitude, and the covenant touches and concerns the land.

Benefit

The benefit of an equitable servitude runs with the land and thus is enforceable by the promisee's successors if the original parties so intended, and the servitude touches and concerns the benefited property.

Equitable defense

A court will not enforce an equitable servitude under the following circumstances:

Estoppel judicial device in common law legal systems whereby a court may prevent a person from making assertions or from going back on their word

Estoppel is a judicial device in common law legal systems whereby a court may prevent, or "estop" a person from making assertions or from going back on his or her word; the person being sanctioned is "estopped". Estoppel may prevent someone from bringing a particular claim, particularly if a promise unsupported by consideration is being relied on by the other party. Legal doctrines of estoppel are based in both common law and equity.

Laches (equity)

Laches refers to a lack of diligence and activity in making a legal claim, or moving forward with legal enforcement of a right, particularly in regard to equity; hence, it is an unreasonable delay that can be viewed as prejudicing the opposing [defending] party. When asserted in litigation, it is an equity defense, that is, a defense to a claim for an equitable remedy. The person invoking laches is asserting that an opposing party has "slept on its rights", and that, as a result of this delay, circumstances have changed, witnesses or evidence may have been lost or no longer available, etc., such that it is no longer a just resolution to grant the plaintiff's claim. Laches is associated with the maxim of equity, "Equity aids the vigilant, not the sleeping ones [that is, those who sleep on their rights]." Put another way, failure to assert one’s rights in a timely manner can result in a claim being barred by laches.

Related Research Articles

In property law, a title is a bundle of rights in a piece of property in which a party may own either a legal interest or equitable interest. The rights in the bundle may be separated and held by different parties. It may also refer to a formal document, such as a deed, that serves as evidence of ownership. Conveyance of the document may be required in order to transfer ownership in the property to another person. Title is distinct from possession, a right that often accompanies ownership but is not necessarily sufficient to prove it. In many cases, possession and title may each be transferred independently of the other. For real property, land registration and recording provide public notice of ownership information.

A mortgage is a security interest in real property held by a lender as a security for a debt, usually a loan of money. A mortgage in itself is not a debt, it is the lender's security for a debt. It is a transfer of an interest in land from the owner to the mortgage lender, on the condition that this interest will be returned to the owner when the terms of the mortgage have been satisfied or performed. In other words, the mortgage is a security for the loan that the lender makes to the borrower.

This aims to be a complete list of the articles on real estate.

An estate in land is an interest in real property that is or may become possessory.

An estate, in common law, is the net worth of a person at any point in time alive or dead. It is the sum of a person's assets – legal rights, interests and entitlements to property of any kind – less all liabilities at that time. The issue is of special legal significance on a question of bankruptcy and death of the person.

A legal remedy, also judicial relief or a judicial remedy, is the means with which a court of law, usually in the exercise of civil law jurisdiction, enforces a right, imposes a penalty, or makes another court order to impose its will.

A covenant in its most general sense and historical sense, is a solemn promise to engage in or refrain from a specified action. Under historical English common law a covenant was distinguished from an ordinary contract by the presence of a seal. Because the presence of a seal indicated an unusual solemnity in the promises made in a covenant, the common law would enforce a covenant even in the absence of consideration. In United States contract law, an implied covenant of good faith is presumed.

<i>Bona fide</i> purchaser

A bona fide purchaser (BFP) – referred to more completely as a bona fide purchaser for value without notice – is a term used predominantly in common law jurisdictions in the law of real property and personal property to refer to an innocent party who purchases property without notice of any other party's claim to the title of that property. A BFP must purchase for value, meaning that he or she must pay for the property rather than simply be the beneficiary of a gift. Even when a party fraudulently conveys property to a BFP, that BFP will, depending on the laws of the relevant jurisdiction, take good (valid) title to the property despite the competing claims of the other party. As such, an owner publicly recording their own interests protects themself from losing those to an indirect buyer, such as a qualifying buyer from a thief, who qualifies as a BFP. Moreover, so-called "race-notice" jurisdictions require the BFP himself or herself to record to enforce his or her rights. In any case, parties with a claim to ownership in the property will retain a cause of action against the party who made the fraudulent conveyance.

A restraint on alienation, in the law of real property, is a clause used in the conveyance of real property that seeks to prohibit the recipient from selling or otherwise transferring his interest in the property. Under the common law such restraints are void as against the public policy of allowing landowners to freely dispose of their property. Perhaps the ultimate restraint on alienation was the fee tail, a form of ownership which required that property be passed down in the same family from generation to generation, which has also been widely abolished.

Security interest legal concept

A security interest is a legal right granted by a debtor to a creditor over the debtor's property which enables the creditor to have recourse to the property if the debtor defaults in making payment or otherwise performing the secured obligations. One of the most common examples of a security interest is a mortgage: When person, by the action of an expressed conveyance, pledges by a promise to pay a certain sum of money, with certain conditions, on a said date or dates for a said period, that action on the page with wet ink applied on the part of the one wishing the exchange creates the original funds and negotiable Instrument. That action of pledging conveys a promise binding upon the mortgagee which creates a face value upon the Instrument of the amount of currency being asked for in exchange. It is therein in good faith offered to the Bank in exchange for local currency from the Bank to buy a house. The particular country's Bank Acts usually requires the Banks to deliver such fund bearing negotiable instruments to the Countries Main Bank such as is the case in Canada. This creates a security interest in the land the house sits on for the Bank and they file a caveat at land titles on the house as evidence of that security interest. If the mortgagee fails to pay defaulting in his promise to repay the exchange, the bank then applies to the court to for-close on your property to eventually sell the house and apply the proceeds to the outstanding exchange.

Equitable remedies are judicial remedies developed by courts of equity from about the time of Henry VIII to provide more flexible responses to changing social conditions than was possible in precedent-based common law.

A servitude is a qualified beneficial interest severed or fragmented from the ownership of an inferior property and attached to a superior property or to some person other than the owner. At civil law, ownership (dominium) is the only full real right whereas a servitude is a subordinate real right on par with wayleaves, real burdens, security interests, and reservations. There are two types: predial, attaching to property, and personal, attaching to a person.

Marketable title is a title that a court of equity considers to be so free from defect that it will legally force its acceptance by a buyer. Marketable title does not assume that absolute absence of defect, but rather a title that a prudent, educated buyer in the reasonable course of business would accept. For real estate practitioners, the most complete reference to title issues is found in the preprinted wording contained within an agreement/contract. If you cannot produce a clear title of deed to the property then the prospective buyer should expect to lose in a specific performance action.

Equitable interest

An equitable interest is an "interest held by virtue of an equitable title or claimed on equitable grounds, such as the interest held by a trust beneficiary." The equitable interest is a right in equity that may be protected by an equitable remedy. This concept exists only in systems influenced by the common law tradition, such as New Zealand, England, Canada, Australia and the United States.

An easement is a nonpossessory right to use and/or enter onto the real property of another without possessing it. It is "best typified in the right of way which one landowner, A, may enjoy over the land of another, B". It is similar to real covenants and equitable servitudes; in the United States, the Restatement (Third) of Property takes steps to merge these concepts as servitudes.

Unregistered land in English law

Unregistered land in English law is land that has not been registered with HM Land Registry. Under the residual principles of English land law, for unregistered land proof of title is based upon historical title deeds and a registry for certain charges under the Land Charges Act 1972.

Easements in English law are certain rights in English land law that a person has over another's land. Rights recognised as easements range from very widespread forms of rights of way, most rights to use service conduits such as telecommunications cables, power supply lines, supply pipes and drains, rights to use communal gardens and rights of light to more strained and novel forms. All types are subject to general rules and constraints. As one of the formalities in English law express, legal easements must be created by Deed.

<i>Tulk v Moxhay</i>

Tulk v Moxhay is a landmark English land law case that decided that in certain cases a restrictive covenant can "run with the land" in equity. It is the reason Leicester Square exists today.

South African property law

South African property law regulates the "rights of people in or over certain objects or things." It is concerned, in other words, with a person's ability to undertake certain actions with certain kinds of objects in accordance with South African law. Among the formal functions of South African property law is the harmonisation of individual interests in property, the guarantee and protection of individual rights with respect to property, and the control of proprietary relationships between persons, as well as their rights and obligations. The protective clause for property rights in the Constitution of South Africa stipulates those proprietary relationships which qualify for constitutional protection. The most important social function of property law in South Africa is to manage the competing interests of those who acquire property rights and interests. In recent times, restrictions on the use of and trade in private property have been on the rise.