What is Covenant?

Legal Definition
A covenant, in its most general sense and historical sense, is a solemnly 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.

A covenant is a type of contract in which the covenantor makes a promise to a covenantee to do (affirmative covenant) or not do some action (negative covenant). In real property law, the term real covenants is used for conditions tied to the use of land. A "covenant running with the land", also imposes duties or restrictions upon the use of that land regardless of the owner. Restrictive covenants are somewhat similar to easements and equitable servitudes, leading to some discussion about whether these concepts should be unified; the Restatement (Third) of Property takes steps to merge these concepts as servitudes. Real covenant law in the United States has been referred to as an "unspeakable quagmire" by one court.

Covenants for title are covenants which come with a deed or title to the property, in which the grantor of the title makes certain guarantees to the grantee. Non-compete clauses in the United States are also called restrictive covenants.
-- Wikipedia
Legal Definition
A covenant is a promise in a contract or contract-like legal agreement. For example, lease agreements include covenants to pay rent.
Legal Definition
Remedies. The name of an action instituted for the recovery of damages for the breach of a covenant or promise under seal. 2 Ld. Raym. 1536 F; N. B. 145 Com. Dig. Pleader, 2 V 2 Id. Covenant, A 1; Bouv. lnst. Index, h. t.

2. The subject will be considered with reference, 1. To the kind of claim or obligation on which this action may be maintained. 2. The form of the declaration. 3. The plea. 4. The judgment.

3.- 1. To support this action, there must be a breach of a promise under seal. 6 Port. R. 201; 5 Pike, 263; 4 Dana, 381; 6 Miss. R. 29. Such promise may be contained in a deed-poll, or indenture, or be express or implied by. law from the terms of the deed; or for the performance of something in futuro, or that something has been done; or in some cases, though it relate to something in presenti, as that the covenantor has, a good title. 2 Saund. 181, b. Though, in general, it is said that covenant will not lie on a contract inpresenti, as on a covenant to stand seized, or that a certain horse shall henceforth be the property of another. Plowd. 308; Com. Dig. Covenant, A 1; 1 Chit. PI.. 110. The action of covenant is the peculiar remedy for the non-performance of a promise under seal, where the damages are unliquidated, and depend in amount on the opinion of a jury, in which case neithor debt nor assumpsit can be supported but covenant as well as the action of debt, may be maintained upon a single bill for a sum certain. When the breach of the covenant amounts to misfeasance, the covenantee has an election to proceed by action of covenant, or by action on the case for a tort, as against a lessee, either during his term or afterwards, for waste; 2 Bl. R. 1111; 2 Bl. R. 848; but this has been questioned. When the contract under seal has been enlarged by parol, the substituted agreement will be considered, together with the original agreement, as a simple contract. 2 Watt's R. 451 1 Chit. Pl. 96; 3 T. R. 590.

4. - 2. The declaration must state that the contract was under seal and it should make profert of it, or show some excuse for the omission. 3 T. 11. 151. It is not, in general, requisite to state tho consideration of the defendant's promise, because a contract under seal usually imports a consideration; but when the performance of the consideration constitutes a condition precedent, such performance must be averred. So much only of the deed and covenant should be set forth as is essential to the cause of action: although it is usual to declare in the words of the deed, each covenant may be stated as to its legal effect. The breach may be in the negative of the covenant generally 4 Dall. R. 436; or, according to the legal effect, and sometimes in the alternative and several breaches may be assigned at common law. Damages being the object of the suit, should be laid sufficient to cover the real amount. Vide 3 Serg. & Rawle, 364; 4 Dall. R. 436 2 Yeates' R. 470 3 Serg. & Rawle, 564, 567; 9 Serg. & Rawle, 45.

5. - 3. It is said that strictly there is no general issue in this action, though the plea of non est factum has been said by an intelligent writer to be the general issue. Steph. Pl. 174. But this plea only puts in issue the fact of scaling the deed. 1 Chit. Pl. 116. Non infregit conventionem, and nil debet, have both been held to be insufficient. Com. Dig. Pleader, 2 V 4. In Pennsylvania, by a practice peculiar to that state, the defendant may plead covenants and under this. plea, upon notice of the special matter, in writing, to the plaintiff, without form, he may give anything in evidence which he might have pleaded. 4 Dall. 439; 2 Yeates, 107; 15 Serg. & Rawle, 105. And this evidence, it seems, may be given in the circuit courts of the United States in that state without notice, unless called for. 2 W. C. C. R. 4 5 6.

6. - 4. The judgmeut is that the plaintiff recover a named sum for his damages, which he has sustained by reason of the breach or breaches of covenant, together with costs.
-- Bouviers Law Dictionary
Legal Definition
Contracts. A covenant, conventio, in its most general signification, means any kind of promise or contract, whether it be made in writing or by parol. Hawk. P. C. b. 1, c. 27, 7, s. 4. In a more technical sense, and the one in which it is here considered, a covenant is an agreement between two or more persons, entered into in writing and under seal, whereby either party stipulates for the truth of certain facts, or promises to perform or give something to the other, or to abstain from the performance of certain things. 2 Bl. Com. 303-4; Bac. Ab. Covenant, in pr.; 4 Cruise, 446; Sheppard, Touchs. 160; 1 Harring. 151, 233 1 Bibb, 379; 2 Bibb, 614; 3 John. 44; 20 John. 85; 4 Day, 321.

2. It differs from an express assumpsit in this, that the former may be verbal, or in writing not under seal, while the latter must always be by deed. In an assumpsit, a consideration must be shown; in a covenant no consideration is necessary to give it validity, even in a court of equity. Plowd. 308; 7 T. R. 447; 4 Barn. & Ald. 652; 3 Bingh. 111.

3. It is proposed to consider first, the general requisites of a covenant; and secondly, the several kinds of covenants.

4. - 1. The general requisites are, 1st. Proper parties. 2d. Words of agreement. 3d A legal purpose. 4th. A proper form.

5. - 1st. The parties must be such as by law can enter into a contract. If either for want of understanding, as in the case of an idiot or lunatic; or in the case of an infant, where the contract is not for his benefit; or where there is understanding, but owing to certain causes, as coverture, in the case of a married woman, or duress, in every case, the parties are not competent, they cannot bind themselves. See Parties to Actions.

6. - 2d. There must be an agreement. The assent or consent must be mutual for the agreement would be incomplete if either party withheld his assent to any of its terms. The assent of the parties to a contract necessarily supposes a free, fair, serious exercise of the reasoning faculty. Now, if from any cause, this free assent be not given, the contract is not binding. See Consent.

7. - 3d. A covenant against any positive law, or public policy, is, generally speaking, void. See Nullity; Shep. Touchs. 163. As an example of the first, is a covenant by one man that he will rob another; and of the last, a covenant by a merchant or tradesman that he will not follow his occupation or calling. This, if it be unlimited, is absolutely void but, if the covenant be that he shall not pursue his business in a particular place, as, that he will not trade in the city of Philadelphia, the covenant is no longer against public policy. See Shep. Touchs. 164. A covenant to do an impossible thing is also void. Ib.

8. - 4th. To make a covenant, it must, according to the definition above given, be by deed, or under seal. No particular form of words is necessary to make a covenant, but any words which manifest the intention of the parties, in respect to the subject matter of the contract, are sufficient. Sec numerous examples in Bac. Abr. Covenant, A Selw. N. P. 469; Com. Dig. Covenant, A 2; 3 Johns. R. 44; 5 Munf. 483.

9. In Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Missouri, it is declared by statute that the words grant, bargain, and sell, shall amount to a covenant that the grantor was seised of an estate in fee, free from all incumbrances done or suffered by him, and for quiet enjoyment against his acts. But it has been adjudged that those words in the Pennsylvania statute of 1715, (and the decision will equally apply to the statutory language in the other two states,) did not amount to a general warranty, but merely to a covenant that the grantor had not done any act, nor created any incumbrance whereby the estate might be defeated. 2 Bin. 95; 11 S. & R. 111, 112; 4 Kent, Com. 460.

10. - 2. The several kinds of covenants. They are, 1. Express or implied. 1. An express, covenant, or a covenant in fact, is one expressly agreed between the parties and inserted in the deed. The law does not require any particular form to create an express covenant. The formal word "covenant" is therefore not indispensably requisite. 2. Mod. 268; 3 Keb. 848; 1 Leon, 324; 1 Bing. 433; 8 J. B. Moore, 546; 1 Ch. Cas. 294; 16 East, 352; 12 East, 182 n.; 1 Bibb, 379; 2 Bibb 614; 3 John. 44; 5 Cowen, 170; 4 Day, 321 4 Conn. 508; 1 Harring. 233. The words "I oblige;" "agree," 1 Ves. 516; 2 Mod. 266; or, "I bind myself to pay so much such a day, and so much such another day;" Hardr. 178; 3 Leon. 119, Pl. 199; are held to be covenants; and so are the word's of a bond. 1 Ch. Cas. 194. But words importing merely an order or direction that other persons should pay a sum of money, are not a coveiaant. 6 J. B. Moore, 202, n. (a.)

11. - 1. An implied covenant is one which the law intends and implies, though it be not expressed in words. 1 Common Bench Rep. 402; co. Lit. 139, b; Vaugnan's Rep. 118; Rawle on Covenants, 364. There are some words which of themselves do not import an express covenant, yet being made use of in certain contracts, have a similar operation and are called covenants in law. They are as effectually binding on the parties as if expressed in the most unequivocal terms. Bac. Ab. Covenant, B. A few examples will fully explain this. If a lessor demise and grant to his lessee a house or lands for a certain term, the law will imply a covenant on the part of the lessor, that the lessee shall during the term quietly enjoy the same against all incumbrances. Co. Litt. 384. When in a lease the words "grant," 1 Mod. 113 Freem. 367; Cro. Eliz. 214; 4 Taunt. 609; "grant and demise, " 4 Wend. 502; "demise," 10 Mod. 162; 4 Co. 80; Hob. 12; or " demiserunt," I Show. 79 1 Salk. 137, are used, they are so many instances of implied covenants. And the words "yielding and paying" in a lease, imply a covenant on the part of lessee, that he will pay the rent. 9 Verm. 151; 3 Penn. 461, 464.

12. - 2. Real and personal. 1st. A real covenant is one which has for its object something annexed to, or inherent in, or connected with land or other property. Co Litt. 334; enk 241; Cruise, Dig. tit. 32, c. 25, s. 22; Platt. on Cov. 60, 61; 2 Bl. Com. 304. A covenant real, which necessarily runs with the land, as to pay rent, not to cut timber, and the like, is said to be an inherent covenant. Shep. To. 161. A covenant real runs with the land and descends to the heir; it is also transferred to a purchaser. Such covenants are said to run with the land, so that he who has the one is subject to the other. Bac. Ab. Covenants, E 2. See 2 Penn. 507; 10 Wend 180; 12 Mass. 306; 17 Mass. 586; 5 Cowen, 137; 5 Ham. 156; 5 Conn. 497; 1 Wash. C. C. 375; 8 Cowen 206; 1 Dall. 210; 11 Shep. 283; 6 Met. 139; 3 Mete. 81; 3 Harring. 338; 17 Wend. 136.

13. - 2. As commonly reckoned, there are five covenants for title, viz: 1. Covenant for seisin. 2. That the grantor has perfect right to convey. 3. That the grantee shall quietly possess and enjoy the premises without interuption, called a covenant of quiet enjoyment. 4. The covenant against incumbrances. 5. The covenant for futher assurance. 6. Besides these covenants, there is another frequently resorted to in the United Staes, which is relied on more, perhaps, than any other, called the covenant of warranty. See Rawle on Covenants for Title, where the import and effect of these covenants are elaborately and luminously discussed.

14. - 3. A personal covenant relates only to matters personal, as distinguished from real, and is binding on the covenantur during life, and on his personal representatives after his decease, in respect of his assets. According to Sir William Blackstone, a personal convenant may be transformed into a real, by the mere circumstance of the heirs being named therein, and having assets by descent from the covenantor. 2 Bl. Com 304. A covenant is personal in another sense, where the covenantor is bound to fulfil the covenant himself; as, to teach an apprentice. F.N.B. 340, A.

15. Personal covenants are also said to be transitive and intransitive; the former, when the duty of performing them passes to the covenantor's representatives; the latter, when it is limited to himself; as, in the case of teaching an apprentice. Bac. Ab. h.t.

16. As they affect each other in the same deed, covenants may be divided into three classes. 1st. Dependent covenants are those in which the performance, of one depends on the performance of the other; there may be conditions which must be performed before the other party is liable to an action on his covenant. 8 S. & R. 268; 4 Conn. 3; 1 Blackf. 175; John. 209; 2 Stew. & Port. 60; 6 Cowen 296; 3 Ala. R. 330; 3 Pike 581; 2 W. & S. 227; 5 Shep. 232; 11 Verm. 549; 4 W. C. C. 714; Platt on Cov. 71; 2 Dougl. 689; Lofft, 191; 2 Selw. N. P. 443, 444. To ascertain whether covenants are dependent or not, the intention of the parties is to be sought for and regarded rather than the order or time in which the acts are to be done, or the structure of the instrument, or the arrangements of the covenant. 4 Wash. C. C. 714; 1 Root, 170; 4 Rand. 352; 4 Rawle, 26; 5 Wend. 496; 2 John. 145; 13 Mass. 410; 2 W. & S. 227; 4 W. & S. 527; Willis, 157; 7 T. R. 130; 8 T.R. 366; 5 B. & P. 223; 1 Saund. 320 n.

17. - 2d. Some covenants are mutual conditions to be performed at the same time; these are concurrent covenants. When, in these cases, one party is redy and offers to perform his part, and the other refuses or neglects to perform his, he who is ready and offers, has fulfilled his engagement, and may maintain an action for the default of the other, though it is not certain that either is obliged to do the first act. 4 Wash. C. C. 714; Dougl. 698; 2 Selw. N. P. 443; Platt. on Cov. 71.

18.- - 3d. Covenants are independent or mutual, when either party may recover damages from the other for the injury he may have received by a breach of the covenants in his favor, and when it is no excuse for the defendant to allege a breach of the covenants on the part of the plaintiff. 2 Wash. C. C. R. 456; 5 Shepl. 372; 4 Leigh, 21; 3 Watts & S. 300; 13 Mass. 410; 2 Pick. 300; 2 John. 145; 10 John. 203; Minor 21; 2 Bibb, 15; 3 Stew. 361; 1 Fairf. 49; 6 Binn. 166; 2 Marsh. 429; 7 John. 249; 5 Wend. 496; 3 Miss. 329; 2 Har. & J. 467; 4 Har. & J. 285; 2 Marsh. 429; 4 Conn. 3.

19. Covenants are affirmative and negative. 1st. An affirmative covenant is one by whicb the covenantor binds himself that something has already been done or shall be performed hereafter. Such L convenant will not deprive a man of a right lawfully enjoyed by him independently of the covenant; 5 as, if the lessor agreed with the lessee that he shall have thorns for hedges growing upon the land, by assignment of the lessor's bailiff; here no restraint is imposed upon the exercise of that liberty which the law allows to the lessee, and therefore he may take hedge-bote without assignment. Dy. 19 b, pl. 115; 1 Leon, 251.

20. - 2d. A negative covenant is one where the party binds himself that he has not performed and will not perform a certain act; as, that he will not encumber. Such a covenant cannot be said to be performed until it becomes impossible to break it. On this ground the courts are unwilling to construe a covenant of this kind to be a condition precedent. Therefore, where a tailor assigned his trade to the defendant, and covenanted thenceforth to desist from carrying on the said business with any of the customers, and the defendant in consideration of the performance thereof, covenanted to pay him a life annuity of 190, it was held that if the words "in consideration of the performance thereof," should be deemed to amount to a condition precedent, the plaintiff would never obtain his annuity; because as at anytime during his life he might exercise his former trade, until his death it could never be ascertained whether he had performed the covenant or not. 2 Saund. 156; 1 Sid. 464; 1 Mod. 64; 2 Keb. 674. The defendant, however, on a breach by plaintiff, might have his remedy by a crossaction of covenant. There is also a difference between a negative covenant, which is only in affirmance of an affirmative covenant precedent, and a negative covenant which is additional to the affirmative covenant. 1 Sid. 87; 1 Keb. 334, 372. To a covenant of the former class a plea of performance generally is good, but not to the latter; the defendant in that case must plead specially. Id.

21. Covenants, considered with regard to the parties who are to perform them, are joint or several. 1st. A joint covenant is one by which several parties agree to perform or do a thing together. In this case although there are several covenantors there is but one contract, and if the covenant be broken, all the covenantors living, must be sued; as there is not a separate obligation of each, they cannot be sued separately.

22. - 2d. A several covenant is one entered into by one person only. It frequently happens that a number of persons enter into the same contract, and that each binds himself to perform the whole of it; in such case, when the Contract is under seal, the covenantors are severally bound for the performance of it. The terms usually employed to make a several covenant are " severally," or " each of us." In practice, it is common for the parties to bind themselves jointly and severally, and then the covenant is both joint and several. Vide Hamm. on Parties 19; Cruise, Dig. tit. 32, c. 25, s. 18; Bac. Ab. Covenant D.

23. Covenants are executed or executory. 1st. An executed covenant is one which relates to an act already performed. Shep. To. 161.

24. - 2d. An executory covenant is one to be performed at a future time. Shep. To. 161.

25. Covenants are obligatory or declaratory. 1st. An obligatory covenant is one which is binding on the party himself, and shall never be construed to raise a use. 1 Sid. 27; 1 Keb. 334.

26. - 2d. A declaratory covenant is one which serves to limit and direct uses. 1 Sid. 27; 1 Heb. 334.

27. Covenants are principal and auxiliary. 1st. A principal covenant is one which relates directly to the principal matter of the contract entered into between the parties; as, if A covenants to serve B for one year.

28. - 2d. An auxiliary covenant is one, which, not relating directly to the principal matter of the contract between the parties, yet relates to something connected with it; as, if A covenants with B, that C will perform his covenant to serve him for one year. In this case, if the principal covenant is void, the auxiliary is discharged. Anstr. 256.

29. Covenants are legal or illegal. 1st. A legal covenant is one not forbidden by law. Covenants of this kind are always binding on the parties.

30. - 2d. An illegal covenant is one forbidden by law, either expressly or by implication. A covenant entered into, in violation of, the express provision of a statute is absolutely void. 5 Har. & J. 193; 5 N. H. Rep. 96; 6 N. H. Rep. 225; 4 Dall. 298; 6 Binn. 321; 4 S.& R. 159; 1 Binn. 118; 4 Halst. 252. A covenant is also void, if it be of immoral nature; as, a covenant for future illicit intercourse and cohabitation; 3 Monr. 35; 3 Burr. 1568; S. C. 1 Bl. Rep. 517; 1 Esp. 13; 1 B. P. 340; or against public policy; 5 Mass. 385; 7 Greenl. 113; 4 Mass. 370; 5 Halst. 87; 4 Wash. C. C. 297; 11 Wheat. 258; 3 Day, 145; 2 McLean, 464; 7 Watts, 152; 5 Watts & S. 315; 5 How. Miss. 769; Geo. Decis. part 1, 39 in restraint of trade, when the restraiut is general; 21 Wend. 166; 19 Pick. 51; 6 Pick. 206; 7 Cowen, 307; or fraudulent between the parties; 5 Mass. 16; 4 S. & R. 488; 4 Dall. 250; 7 W. & S. 111; or third persons; 3 Day, 450; 14 S. & R. 214; 3 Caines, 213; 15 Pick. 49; 2 John. 286 12 John. 306.

31. Covenants, in the disjunctive or alternative, are those which give the covenantor the choice of doing, or the covenontee the choice of having, performed one of two or more things at his election; as, a covenant to make a lease to Titus, or pay him one hundred dollars on the fourth day of July, as the covenantor, or the covenantee, as the case may be, shall prefer. Platt on Cov. 21.

32. Collateral covenants are such as concern some collateral thing, which does not at all, or not so immediately relate to the thing granted; as, to pay a sum of money in gross, that the lessor shall distrain for rent, on some other land than that which is demised, or the like. Touchs. 161; 4 Burr. 2446; 2 Wils. R. 27; 1 Ves. R. 56. These covenants are also termed covenants in gross. Vide 5 Barn. & Ald. 7, 8; Platt on Cov. 69, 70.
-- Bouviers Law Dictionary
Legal Definition
In practice. The name of a common-law form of action ex contractu, which lies for the recovery of damages for breach of a covenant or contract under seal. Stickney v. Stickney, 21 N. H. 68. In the law of contracts. An agreement, convention, or promise of two or more parties, by deed in writing, signed, sealed, and delivered, by which either of the parties pledges himself to the other that something is either done or shall be done, or stipulates for the truth of certain facts. Sabin v. Hamilton, 2 Ark. 490; Co.m. v. Robinson, 1 Watts (Pat) 160; Kent v. Edmondston, 49 N. C 529. An agreement between two or more parties, reduced to writing and executed by a sealing and delivery thereof, whereby some of the parties named therein engage, or one of them engages, with the other, or others, or some of them, therein alao named, that some act hath or hath not already been done, or for the performance or non-performance of some specified duty. De Bolle v. Insurance Co., 4 Whart (Pa.) 71, 33 Am. Dec. 38. Classification. Co.venants may be classified according to several distinct principles of division. According as one or other of these is adopted, they are: Express or implied; the former being those which are created by the express words of the parties to the deed declaratory of their intention, while implied covenants are those which are inferred by the law 'from certain words ini a deed which imply (though they do not express) them. Express covenants are also called covenants "in deed," as distinguished from covenants "in law." McDonough v. Martin, 88 Ga. 675, 16 S. E. 59, 18 U R. A. 343; Co.nrad v. Morehead, 89 N. C. 31; Garstang v. Davenport, 90 Iowa, 359, 57 N. W. 876. Dependent, concurrent, and independent. Covenants are either dependent, concurrent, or mutual and independent The first depends on the prior performance of some act or condition, and, until the condition is performed, the other party is not liable to an action on his covenant In the second, mutual acts are to be performed at the same time; and if one party is ready, and offers to perform his part, and the other neglects or refuses to perform his, he who is ready and offers has fulfilled his engagement, and may maintain an action for the default of the other, though it is not certain that either is obliged to do the first act. The third sort is where either party may recover damages from the other for the injuries he may have received by a breach of the covenants in his favor; and it is no excuse for the defendant to allege a breach of the covenants on the' part of the plaintiff. Bailey v. White, 3 Ala. 330; Tompkins v. Elliot, 5 Wend. (N. Y.) 407 ; Gray v. Smith (C. Ct) 76 Fed. 534. Principal and auxiliary; the former being those which relate directly to the principal matter of the contract entered into between the parties; while auxiliary covenants are those which do not relate directly to the principal matter of contract between the parties, but to something connected with it. Inherent and collateral; the former being such as immediately affect the particular property, while the latter affect some property collateral thereto or some matter collateral to the grant or lease. A covenant inherent is one which is conversant about the land, and kuit to the estate in the land ; as, that the thing demised shall be quietly enjoyed, shall be kept in repair, or shall not be aliened. A covenant collateral is one which is conversant about some collateral thing that doth nothing at all, or not so immediately, concern the thing granted; as to pay a sum of money in gross, etc. Shep. Touch. 161. Joint or several. The former bind both or all the covenantors together; the latter bind each of them separately. A covenant may be bath joint and several at the same time, as regards the covenantors; but, as regards the covenantees, they cannot be joint and several for one and the same cause, (5 Coke, 19a,) but must be either joint or several only. Covenants are usually joint or several according as the interests of the covenantees are such; but the words of the covenant, where they are unambiguous, will decide, although, where they are ambiguous, the nature of the interests as being joint or several is left to decide. Brown. See Capen v. Barrows, 1 Gray (Mass.) 379; In re Slingsby, 5 Coke, 18b. General or specific. The former relate to land generally and place the covenantee in the position of a specialty creditor only ; the latter relate to particular lands and give the covenantee a lien thereon. Brown. Executed or executory; the former being such as relate to an act already performed; while the latter are those whose performance is to be future. Shep. Touch. 161. Affirmative or negative; the former being those in which the party binds himself to the existence of a present state of facts as represented or to the future performance of some act; while the latter are those in which the covenantor obliges himself not to do or perform some act. Declaratory or obligatory; the former being those which serve to limit or direct uses; while the latter are those which are binding on the party himself. 1 Sid. 27; 1 Keb. 337. Real and personal. A real covenant is one which binds the heirs of the covenantor and passes to assignees or purchasers; a covenant the obligation of which is so connected with the realty that he who has the latter is either entitled to the benefit of it or is liable to perform it; a covenant which has for its object something annexed to, or inherent in, or connected with, land or other real property, and runs with the land, so that the grantee of the land ls invested with it and may sue upon it for a breach happening in his time. 4 Kent, Comm. 470; 2 Bl. Comm. 304; Chapman v. Holmes, 10 N. J. Law, 20; Skinner v. Mitchell, 5 Kan. App. 366, 48 Pac. 450; Oil Co. v. Hinton, 159 Ind. 398, 64 N. E. 224 ; Davis v. Lyman, 6 Conn. 249. In the old books, a covenant real is also defined to be a covenant by which a man binds himself to pass a thing reni, as lands or tenements. Termes de la Ley ; 3 Bl. Comm. 156; Shep. Touch. 161. A personal covenant, on the other hand, is one which, instead of being a charge upon real estate of the covenantor, only binds himself and his personal representatives in respect to assets. 4 Kent, Comm. 470; Carter v. Denman, 23 N. J. Law, 270; Hadley v. Bemero, 97 Mo. App. 314, 71 S. W. 451. The phrase may also mean a covenant which is personal to the covenantor, that is, one which he must perform in person, and cannot procure another person to perform for him. Transitive or intransitive; the former being those personal covenants the duty of performing which passes over to the representatives of the covenantor; while the latter are those the duty of performing which is limited to the covenantee himself, and does not pass over to his representative. Bac. Abr. Cov. Disjunctive covenants. Those which are for the performance of one or more of several things at the election of the covenantor or covenantee, as the case may be. Platt, Cov. 2l. Absolute or conditional. An absolute covenant is one which is not qualified or limited by any condition. The following compound and descriptive terms may also be noted: Continuing covenant. One which indicates or necessarily implies the doing of stipulated acts successively or as often as the occasion may require; as, a covenant to pay rent by installments, to keep the premises in repair or insured, to cultivate land, etc. Mo-Glynn v. Moore, 25 Cal. 395. Full covenants. As this term is used in American law, it includes the following: The covenants for seisin, for right to convey, against incumbrances, for quiet enjoyment, sometimes for further assurance, and almost always of warranty, this last often taking the place of the covenant of quiet enjoyment, and indeed in many states being the only covenant in practical use. Rawle, Cov. for Title, ยง 21. Mutual covenants. A mutual covenant is one where either party may recover damages from the other for the injury he may have received from a breach of the covenants in his favor. Bailey v. White, 3 Ala. 330. Separate covenant. A several covenant; one which hinds the several covenantors each for himself, but not jointly. Usual covenants. An agreement on the part of a seller of real property to give the usual covenants binds him to insert in the grant covenants of "seisin," "quiet enjoyment," "further assurance," "general warranty," and "against incumbrances." CSv. Code Cai. j 1733. See Wilson v. Wood, i7 N. J. Eq. 216, 88 Am. Dec. 231; Drake v. Barton, 18 Minn. 467 (Gil. 414). The result of the authorities appears to be that in a case where the agreement is silent as to the particular covenants to be inserted in the lease, and provides merely for the lease containing "usual covenants," or, which is the same thing, in an open agreement without any reference to the covenants, and there are no special circumstances justifying the introduction of other covenants, the following are the only ones which either party can insist upon, namely: Covenants by the lessee (1) to pay rent;

(2) to pay taxes, except such as are expressly payable by the landlord;

(3) to keep and deliver up the premises in repair; and

(4) to allow the lessor to enter and view the state of repair; and the usual qualified covenant by the lessor for quiet enjoyment by the lessee. 7 Ch. Div. 561. Specific covenants.
See also
-- Black's Law Dictionary
Legal Definition
An agreement under seal between two or more parties, by which some of them engage with the others, or some of them, that some act has or has not, or shall or shall not, be done. See 4 Whart. (Pa.) 68, 33 Am. Dec. 38.
-- Ballentine's Law Dictionary