The term “restrictive” usually refers to agreements that restrict the use of land in land and property matters. These agreements have become known as restrictive covenants. An example would be a covenant prohibiting development. This is contrary to a positive covenant, which mandates the owner of the land to do something, for instance maintaining a fence. Therefore a prospective purchaser of land subject to restrictive covenants must know about their effect; and needs advice regarding whether they are enforceable; whether they could be discharged or varied.
The law enables the discharge or variation of covenants subject to certain circumstances.
Acting in breach of a restrictive covenant can lead to serious consequences in that the party with the benefit of the covenant might be able to prevent a breach by obtaining an injunction or even able to restore the previous position, for instance, to demolish a development; and if he is unable to obtain an injunction he might be entitled to substantial damages.
Whether you are subject to a restrictive covenant or have the benefit of one, getting advice on the enforceability of the covenant and available remedies is highly recommended.