- Words used in a deed whereby the grantor, the grantee, or each of them, binds himself to the other for the performance or nonperformance of a particular act or thing, or for the existence or nonexistence of a particular state of facts, and for the breach of which obligation the party bound should be answerable in damages. Mackenzie v Trustees of Presbytery, 67 NJ Eq 652, 61 A 1027; a term now used principally in connection with promises in conveyances or other instruments pertaining to real estate, although in the broadest sense of the term it indicates a contract. In a more specific application of the term, it imports an agreement reduced to writing and duly executed whereby one or more of the parties named therein engages that a named act is to be performed or is to be performed sometime in the future. 20 Am J2d Cov § 1. In a lease, the term usually means no more than a promise or agreement. 32 Am J1st L & T § 140. A seal was a requisite of a covenant at common law, but with the elimination of the requirement of a seal upon written contracts, as such has occurred in most jurisdictions, a mere written agreement may suffice as a covenant. 20 Am J2d Cov § 1. A breach of covenant gives rise to an action at law to recover damages or an action for equitable relief, whereas, the breach of a condition upon which an estate is granted is a forfeiture of the estate forthwith. The term "covenant" is the name of the common-law remedy for breach of a contract under seal. 1 Am J2d Actions § 19. It was the remedy at common law for the recovery of rent upon a lease under seal. 32 Am J1st L & T § 523. See restrictive covenants; title covenants.
Ballentine's law dictionary. Anderson, W.S.. 1998.