Real Estate Licenses and Covenants (Illinois)

By Matthew A. Quick The case of Board of Managers of Hidden Lake Townhome Owners Association v Green Trails Improvement Association shows the importance of understanding the difference between a license and a covenant. A license is permission to use another's property, but is generally revocable or has a specific termination date. A covenant is a promise that runs with the land and is generally irrevocable. This case concerned a pathway that the home owner's association could utilize, but contribute to maintenance. The agreement was only for 50 years. At the end of 50 years, the agreement regarding the pathway (a license) expired and neither party could enforce their interests based upon the original agreement. If the arrangement would have been a covenant. Then the agreement would have run with the land for an indefinite period of time.