Payton & Associates, LLC
Commercial Litigation Attorneys
Miami, Florida

What covenants are contained in deeds?

Hindsight is 20/20, as the saying goes. In the legal system, this concept can be applied to numerous cases, as the course of an entire case could have changed drastically if just one minor detail were altered.

This is often the case with a contract dispute between Miami residents. For instance, as noted last week in this blog, disputes can arise between parties over the language contained in purchase and sale agreements. While the parties may have intended for one thing to occur, this intent may be frustrated if the agreement itself is silent on that issue or contains contradictory provisions.

The plain words used in an agreement typically controls when it comes to business litigation, as with any other kind of contract dispute. This plain language can trigger duties of one party or another, even if those parties may have been unaware of the consequences at the time.

For example, different kinds of deeds can be used to transfer real property, with each kind of deed having different legal consequences. If a warranty deed is used, the grantor is guaranteeing the title to the property is good and marketable throughout the entire chain of the property's ownership.

The warranty deed might also contain other covenants that can be triggered, such as a covenant that the property is being conveyed without any liens or encumbrances other than those mentioned in the deed. The deed might also contain a covenant to defend title. Under this covenant, the grantor can be on the hook for defending the title against claims from third parties, such as cases where alleged title defects arise.

Accordingly, even with something as seemingly straightforward as a deed, there are numerous issues that can arise. While it is helpful to address these issues at the time the deed is being executed, this is not always possible, as disputes arise after the fact that must be addressed. In these circumstances, individuals and businesses need to know how to protect themselves and obtain relief when litigation is commenced.

Source: American Bar Association, "Understanding real property interests and deeds," Brad Dashoff and John Antonacci, Summer 2011

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