Covenants were one of the first planning tools that were used to restrict the new owners of land performing some act upon the land that was contrary to the wishes of the original vendor. The Covenant is a restriction that travels with the Title and is enforceable by the original beneficiaries of the covenant, for example covenant may restrict the owner of the land from any quarrying activities, restrict the size or the value of a house to build on the site, or not to engage in any commercial activity on the site.
Methods for removing/ varying a restrictive covenant include:
- obtaining a Planning Permit from Council and having it registered at Land Victoria.
- applying to the supreme court to have the covenant removed by a court order.
- planning scheme amendment.
Obtaining a Planning Permit is the preferred method, and involves the application being advertised to all the beneficiaries of the covenant. Council could then either issue a Permit if there were no objections, refuse to issue a Permit if there were objectors, or issue a notice of decision if they generally agreed with the concept, and the objectors would have to defend their objections in at VCAT.