Restraint on Alienation Law and Legal Definition

A restraint on alienation, in real property law, is a clause used in the conveyance of real property that seeks to prohibit the recipient from selling or otherwise transferring his interest in the property. Such restraints are often voided for being against the public policy of allowing landowners to freely transfer their property.

Certain restrictions that are deemed "reasonable" may be upheld, such as a right of first refusal or land conservation restrictions. Restraints on alienation called restrictive covenants, which were based on race, were declared unconstitutional in 1949.