Restrictive Covenants

Posted on April 07th, 2017

Private land titles caveats that are registered by developers or property owners are private agreements between property owners and the surrounding community. Within regulatory limits, it is a homeowner’s right to make development decisions about their own properties, including entering into a legally binding restrictive covenant registered on title. It is the right of landowners to restrict their own property in this manner.

Private land titles caveats place further restrictions on land use that go beyond what the City of Edmonton’s zoning bylaw regulates. The City is not the keeper of such caveats. It is up to the landowners and the Province of Alberta’s Land Titles Office to track and regulate such restrictions.

The City encourages those considering any restrictive covenant, or similar legal tools, to seek independent legal advice before entering into any such arrangement.


The City has no role or authority in regulating restrictive covenants. That is held by the Province’s Land Titles Office.

The City’s role in regulating land is to determine Council’s vision and what the best uses for land are, which includes uses such as housing, secondary suites, etc. The City determines a set of “rights” that govern how landowners can use that land and the corresponding regulations for such land.

As the City is not required to interpret nor uphold private land title caveats, those restrictions are not a point of consideration for the City when reviewing rezoning applications, approving subdivisions or permitting uses such as secondary suites. The City will therefore approve applications for use that are consistent with the Zoning Bylaw, but which may not necessarily be consistent with a private caveat.

In making a decision, the Subdivision Authority only considers caveats registered by the City. The most common types are those that preserve public safety, protect the integrity of civil infrastructure, and prevent property loss (e.g. Top of Bank).

If residents feel a private land title caveat has been violated, they have the option of pursuing civil action against the offending party through the courts, when necessary, to resolve the issue.

More information related to restrictive covenants can be found by contacting the Provincial Land Titles Office or seeking independent legal advice.

The City has taken a number of steps over the last year to update and improve infill rules in mature neighbourhoods, including proposed revisions to the Mature Neighbourhood Overlay regulations which are scheduled to go to public hearing in May.

For more information about a development in your neighbourhood or what rules the City currently has in place when it comes to infill development, please browse our infill website or contact 311.