What Does "With Warranty Covenants" Mean on a Deed?

By Karen Brown
Deeds with warranty covenants ensure a good title.

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Seeing your deed labeled "with warranty covenants" can be confusing initially. However, warranty covenants exist to assure buyers that certain aspects of the property conveyance will be free of conflict during and after your purchase. Warranty covenants guarantee, for example, valid legal transfer of the property and peaceful enjoyment of the property without outside claims to its ownership. State statutes govern deeds, so be sure to know your state's laws in relation to your deed.

Deed Defined

A deed is a document that transfers ownership of real estate. In order for a deed to be valid, it must be in writing, signed by both the grantor and grantee and recorded. Within the language of some deeds, a grantor makes certain promises, i.e. warranty covenants, about various aspects of the property's ownership. These covenants can address seisin, quiet enjoyment, right to convey, freedom from encumbrances and/or defense of title against all claims.

Seisen and Quiet Enjoyment

The covenant of seisen affirms that the grantor actually owns the amount and type of property identified in the deed. Seisen assures that the grantee is actually receiving what the deed claims to transfer. The covenant of quiet enjoyment affirms that the grantee can enjoy the land in peace without other persons claiming hostile ownership of the land. In this context hostile ownership usually means squatters who have acquired some legal right to the land.

Right to Convey and Encumbrance-Free

When a grantor covenants their right to convey in a deed, they affirm that they have a legal right to transfer ownership of the land to you. An encumbrance-free covenant promises that the land has no competing claims to its title, like a lien or mortgage. The defense of title against all claims covenant assures that the grantor will defend you if other persons or entities try to claim title to the property after purchase.

Warranty Covenants for Your State

A deed with warranty covenants, also known as a warranty deed, can include some or all of these covenants in addition to others. Many states require warranty deeds to expressly identify its covenants in order for them to be legally binding. However, in some states certain warranty covenants are implied by law and may not appear in the actual deed. Check with a title agent or local attorney to confirm the warranty covenants included in your deed.

About the Author

Based in Richmond, Va., Karen Brown began her professional writing career in 1992. She has expertise in legal topics, federal administration, small-business issues and technical writing. Brown holds a Juris Doctor from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.

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