The estate where my wife and I recently built our house had something called a covenant. Essentially it’s a contract between you and the estate developer which outlines the rules for building and living in the estate. It normally includes things like ensuring you put your bins away from the front of the house and also telling you the style of the house you should be building.

The covenant is part of when you purchase the land. It’s meant so that everyone in the estate agrees to the general rules so that you have some consistency in the area. Most of the time the covenant is something which is more of a guideline than a strict rule, but it depends on who the developer is and more often than not, how close they are to selling all the blocks of land.

In our estate we have a developer who is quite strict on enforcing the covenant. I personally have had infringement notices when our builder damaged a small section of the road, and also when I installed a temporary bucket as my letterbox until we put in the final one.

More interesting though is some of the other people in the estate. We have discovered that one family has been told they need to paint a fence a certain colour, another has to take down a privacy screen they have attached to the top of their fence and also a family who has been asked to remove solar panels from their roof.

It’s pretty interesting to me, and fortunately none of these things really impact us, however, the people who it does impact are pretty annoyed. I’ve done some internet searching and discovered that covenants are difficult to legally enforce, so it could be interesting if the developer decides to take matters further, as I suspect many homeowners in the estate would be interested in having the covenant thrown out.

Anyway, the point of me writing this was to just let people know that sometimes developers do take covenants seriously, so be sure that you are happy to agree to what’s written before purchasing land that is covered by a covenant, as you might end up having issues down the track.