Covenants For Title
When an individual obtains title to, or possession and ownership of, real property, six covenants are ordinarily afforded to him or her. They are (1) covenant for seisin; (2) covenant of the right to convey; (3) covenant against encumbrances; (4) covenant for QUIET ENJOYMENT; (5) covenant of general WARRANTY; and (6) covenant for further assurances.
A deed to real property that provides for usual covenants generally includes the first five of these covenants. When a deed provides for full covenants, it is regarded as giving such protection as is extended pursuant to all six covenants.
Covenants for seisin and of the right to convey are ordinarily regarded as being the same thing. Essentially, they make a guarantee to the grantee that the grantor is actually the owner of the estate that he or she is transferring.
The covenant against encumbrances promises to the grantee that the property being conveyed is not subject to any outstanding rights or interests by other parties, such as mortgages, liens, easements, profits, or restrictions on its
use that would diminish its value. The existence of ZONING restrictions do not constitute breach of this covenant; however, the existence of a violation of some type of zoning or building restriction might be regarded as a breach thereof.
The covenants of quiet enjoyment and general warranty both have the legal effect of protecting the grantee against all unlawful claims of others, including the grantor and third parties, who might attempt to effect an actual or constructive eviction of the grantee.
The sixth covenant, which is the covenant for further assurances, is not widely used in the United States. It is an agreement by the grantor to perform any further necessary acts within his or her ability to perfect the grantee's title.
The first three covenants of title ordinarily do not run with the land, since they become personal choses in action—rights to initiate a lawsuit—if breached upon delivery of the deed. The others are covenants appurtenant or run with the land and are enforceable by all grantees of the land.
In order to recover on the basis of a breach of a covenant of title, financial loss must actually be sustained by the covenantee, since such covenants are contracts of indemnity. In most jurisdictions, the maximum amount of damages recoverable for such a breach is the purchase price of the land plus interest.