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A technical expression applied to covenants real, which affect the land; and if a lessee covenants that he and his assigns will repair the house demised, or pay a ground-rent, and the lessee grants over the term, and the assignee does not repair the house or pay the ground-rent, an action lies against the assignee at common law, because this covenant runs with the land. The same principle which regulates the annexation of incorporeal to corporeal property, determines what covenants may be annexed to a tenure. Those alone which tend directly, not merely through the intervention of collateral causes, to improve the estate, give stability to the tenant's title, assure him, from a defective one, or add to the lord's means on the one hand, the tenant's on the other, of enforcing the stipulations between them, are of this sort.
Covenants running with the land pass with the tenure, though not made with assigns. The parties to them are not A and B, but the tenant and the landlord in those characters. When the landlord assigns the reversion, the assignee becomes lord in his room, fills the precise situation and character the assignor was clothed with, and is therefore entitled to the privileges annexed to that character. Whether the tenant is sued by the landlord or his assigns, be is sued by the same person, namely, his lord. The same argument, changing its terms, applies to the tenant's assignee.To make a covenant run with the land, it is not requisite that the covenantor should be possessed of any estate; be may be an entire stranger to the land, but the covenantee must have some transferable interest in it, to which the covenant can attach itself, for otherwise the covenant is merely personal. And to make the assignee liable, he must take the estate the covenantee had in the land, and no other, for when he takes another and a different estate in the same land, he cannot sue upon the covenants.
A covenant running with the land passes to the heir at law, on the death of the ancestor, whether the heir be named in such covenant or not.