In Queensland, a statutory covenant is a written agreement in a prescribed form that may be registered on title to ensure the obligation to comply with the covenant is transferred to another person with the transfer of title to the land.
Fact sheet—Statutory covenants (PDF, 186K)*
Statutory covenants are to be distinguished from other obligations referred to as covenants, such as:
- common law covenants (e.g. an obligation under a contract of sale for the purchaser of land to build a house of specified materials—this creates only personal rights between the parties to the contract and cannot be enforced against a subsequent registered owner of the land)
- a covenant (i.e. agreement or obligation) included in another registered instrument such a lease or a mortgage, (e.g. a covenant to keep buildings in good repair). Whether such an obligation can be enforced against future owners depends on the terms of the registered instrument and the type of interest it creates.
Parties to a statutory covenant
The parties to a statutory covenant are:
- the covenantor—the landholder who will be subject to the obligations outlined by the covenant
- the covenantee—the State, entity representing the State, or local government—which has the power to ensure the conditions of the covenant are observed.
Landholders and government agencies can use statutory covenants to:
- link separate land titles
- ensure land is used, or not used, for a specified purpose
- conserve nature
- conserve land and water
- protect scenic features
- protect cultural heritage
- maintain residential amenity and minimise land-use conflict in areas adjoining roads
- retain buffer areas around industrial areas, extractive industries and roads
- support projects involving a specific land use.
Registering statutory covenants
Covenants over freehold land can be registered under the Land Title Act 1994 Part 6 Div. 4A and covenants over non-freehold land can be registered under the Land Act 1994 Chapter 6 Part 4 Div. 8A.
To be capable of registration under Queensland legislation a statutory covenant must:
- relate to the use of a lot or part of a lot; or a proposed or existing building on the lot; or
- be aimed directly at preserving a native animal or plant; or a natural or physical feature of cultural or scientific significance; or
- ensure that the subject lots are transferred to single ownership only.
While a statutory covenant can relate to the use of a building, it cannot control the architectural style for a building or landscaping standards, or deal with matters that could be the subject of an easement.
For information on preparing covenant instruments, registering a statutory covenant, and other administrative matters such as changes to an existing statutory covenant, see:
Agency staff, landholders and their representatives should review this information before proceeding with arrangements relating to a statutory covenant.
Land Registry form
- Form 31—Covenant (PDF, 77K)*
Contact details for Titles Registry customer enquiries can be found on the Customer enquiries and contacts webpage.
For general information about statutory covenants for preservation purposes:
- Contact the department.
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Last updated 26 September 2011