Covenant of Right to Convey

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When real estate is transferred from one person to another, the person who transfers title is the grantor and the person who receives title is the "grantee." Title can be taken in different ways, and there are different types of deeds, some of which make express promises or covenants from the grantor to the grantee. For example, a warranty deed warrants that the grantor has good and clear title to the property being transferred. One promise that buyers may want to have included with the deed is the covenant of the right to convey. At Pulgini & Norton, our Boston real estate lawyers can review the paperwork and examine the title to help make sure that your interests are protected in a property transaction.

The Covenant of Right to Convey

There are three types of deeds, of which warranty deeds provide the greatest protection to a grantee. Quitclaim deeds make fairly limited promises, while release deeds serve only to transfer title. Quitclaim deeds are the most common type of deed in Massachusetts, but they do not include a covenant of the right to convey. A covenant of the right to convey is also known as a covenant for seisin, and it promises that the grantor has an interest to be conveyed as well as the capacity to make the conveyance. Basically, it guarantees that a grantor actually owns and has the right to transfer a piece of real estate.

Under Section 10 of the Massachusetts General Laws, a warranty deed when properly executed includes these covenants:

  • The grantor held the real estate in fee simple;
  • The real estate was free from encumbrances;
  • The grantor had the right to sell and convey the real estate to the grantee; and
  • The grantor will warrant and defend these rights to the grantee and his or her heirs against any lawful claims and demands.

The warranty deed needs to be in writing and should be signed by the grantor. It should also be recorded at the registry of deeds so that third persons, such as creditors and subsequent buyers, have notice about the transfer.

If a seller violates a warranty that is conveyed with a deed, the buyer usually can either rescind the contract to recover the purchase price, or keep the property and sue the seller/grantor for damages caused by the breach of covenant. The covenant of the right to convey is a promise that is only breached if it is untrue at the time the deed is delivered to the buyer.

In general, a covenant of the right to convey is made stronger if it is accompanied by a covenant of further assurances. This latter covenant requires a grantor to do what is necessary to eradicate a problem that arises at his or her own expense. If the problem cannot be fixed, damages should be recoverable.

Discuss Your Real Estate Needs with a Boston Lawyer

Although your rights can be enforced through litigation, this is extremely expensive and time-consuming, and it is wiser to make sure that you fully understand a property transaction before signing paperwork or paying any money to a seller. When you buy a home, it is important to be aware of the type of deed you are receiving. One of the most crucial promises that a grantor can make to you is the covenant of the right to convey. The Boston real estate attorneys at Pulgini & Norton also advise and represent people in Hyde Park, Quincy, Cambridge, and other cities in Massachusetts. Call us at 781-843-2200 or contact us via our online form for a free consultation with a knowledgeable property transactions attorney.