Resolve Your Deed Restriction Question Right Away

If you have a deed restriction question, we certainly want to hear it.  But in contrast to some of our pages, we don't think our advice will substitute for consulting a professional.  In this case you need an attorney licensed to practice in your state.

This is just our way of saying that deed restrictions, restrictive covenants, master deeds, and such are not taken seriously enough often in the real estate purchase process.  Sometimes they are not even disclosed or discussed, especially in the case of condominiums or planned communities having those lengthy 50-page lists.

Then you find out the hard way that you really couldn't put out that flag of the state bird, even though your next-door neighbor has an annoyingly huge U.S. flag flying every day and draping over onto your porch.

One of the reasons that we're not huge fans of these clauses (or book-length manuscripts) is that the underlying law may well require legal interpretation. 

We've talked about some of the scary things that might happen on the general deed restrictions page, and if you haven't seen it, we urge you to go right over there.  Chief among the defects of this way of trying to control land use is that the provisions aren't publicly enforceable.  City hall can't help you if there's a problem; you have to go to court.

States may have limits on the number of years that these extra rules and regulations about what you can do with your property can apply, but a number of states allow these covenants to "run with the land" forever.   Run with the land means that the restriction binds all future owners. 

Breaking the covenant may require consent of every single heir of the person who imposed the original covenant, and if the author of the restriction was a corporation that now has gone out of business, you're in for some serious trouble.   In homeowner association situations, lifting a restriction may or may not be slightly easier.  Often every single current owner must agree, which is a hard task when you have 50 or 250 property owners.

Because of these complexities and the highly individual scenarios that can arise, we weren't surprised when we started sorting through our long list of answered visitor inquiries and found that a category for a deed restriction question seemed logical.

We just caution at every step of the way that the general observations we make are for the education of people such as planners, planning commission members, real estate agents, and housing or development activists.  If you are seeking advice about a situation involving your personal real estate, you will need a lawyer as well as our airplane-level overview of what might be involved.


Have A Question About Deed Restrictions or Restrictive Covenants??

Would you like to ask the other visitors and the editors a question? Here's your place to ask and then review answers, as well as seeing what others have asked.

Other Questions and Answers

Click below to see contributions from other visitors, and answers.

Expired covenants and no HOA 
Our rural Colorado subdivision let the HOA expire after 20 years in 2000. But the covenants are still publicly recorded. How do these covenants affect …

Can Rezoning Overturn Deed Restrictions Not rated yet
Visitor Question: The Planning and Zoning Committee denied a request to change the designation of a lot to allow two homes instead of one on a lot. …

How to Change Covenants Not rated yet
Visitor Question: We live in an enclave of 8 homes with a loosely created covenant system from 1995 when the homes were built. Many of the covenants …

Can Successor Developer Ignore Covenants Not rated yet
Visitor Question: We have an unusual situation where the community prior to completion was foreclosed and resold to a secondary developer. The developer …

Deed Restriction Based on Race Not rated yet
Visitor Question: If you have a deed restriction based on race would it be A. Voidable but the conveyance is still valid Or B. Void but the deed …

House Exempted from HOA Not rated yet
Visitor Asks: Hello, I just bought a house in a subdivision with an HOA (homeowners association). The owner told me the house is not a part of the HOA …

How HOA Can Enforce Covenants Not rated yet
Visitor Question: I'm under contract to purchase a property in a gated community that has an HOA (homeowners association) and have actually read all …

Deed Restriction Enforcement Without HOA Management Not rated yet
Visitor's Question: I have a buyer who is interested in purchasing a home in a neighborhood with 2006 deed restrictions and an HOA (without management). …

Indoor Sprinkler System Required in Covenants Not rated yet
Visitor Question: I recently purchased a complete subdivision in Idaho. On the cc's&r it states each facility must have an indoor sprinkler system. The …

Zoning Administrator Splits Lot Contrary to Covenants Not rated yet
Visitor Question: Can a municipality's employee (the zoning administrator) subdivide a lot within a PUD (Planned Unit Development)? Our covenants …

How to Abolish Deed Restrictions Not rated yet
Visitor Question: In 1968 the subdivision that I live in filed a Declaration of Restrictions. In the restrictions it states, "Restrictions shall be automatically …

Restriction may prohibit son from building house Not rated yet
Visitor Question: My question deals with a restriction which apparently will prohibit my son from having a house built on my property. My wife and I …

Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions Expired Not rated yet
Visitor Question: We moved to our neighborhood in Florida in 2012 and were told we are a Deed Restricted community. Title Insurance has plat, book and …

Signing Deed Restriction Not rated yet
Visitor Question: Does the new owner of certain property especially in a subdivision need to sign the Deed of Restriction for it to be enforceable? I …

Restriction on Commercial Use Versus Rental Property Not rated yet
Visitor Question: In our HOA we have a covenant against commercial use of a lot or home in our neighborhood, which is in Kentucky. This is a lakefront …

Limit on Subdivision  Not rated yet
Visitor Question: A deed states: "... the premises herein conveyed (can) not be subdivided or utilized for the purpose of multi-family dwelling(s)...". …

Quit Claim Deed Received for Adjoining Lot Not rated yet
Visitor Question: I purchased a neighboring piece of property from the county at auction. Though the advertisement did state that the lot could not …

Responsibility for Outlots in a Subdivision Not rated yet
Visitor Question: I am a second owner in a 52 house subdivision created 18 years ago. I have lived here 10 years and just received information from …

Covenants Not Listed on My Deed Not rated yet
Visitor Asks: I am trying to understand how CC & R's that were provided to me when I purchased my home can be enforced if they are not listed on my Deed? …

Removal of deeded basketball court Not rated yet
I live in a townhouse development in which a basketball court was originally in the property deed. The court had been a huge nuisance and danger. The nets …

HOA Restriction Requiring a Golf Course Not rated yet
Visitor's Question: I live in Michigan in a community covered by an HOA and a restriction agreement. The property was developed in 1956 to include 400 …

Abandonment of Deed Restrictions Not rated yet
Visitor Question: I live in a subdivision in a county that has 49 plots. The original covenants were written in 1976 for a period of 20 years with an …

Senior Care Home in Subdivision  Not rated yet
Hello we are planning to open a licensed home for seniors. We have been told it is allowed in subdivisions that have covenants/restrictions against it. …

Adding a restriction to my deed Not rated yet
Visitor Question: How do I add a low income housing only restriction to my deed to thwart developers from calling me about my house in my quickly gentrifying …

Click here to write your own.

Neighbor's Deed Restriction On My Property Not rated yet
Visitor's Question: My neighbor subdivided his Massachusetts lot 40 years ago creating my adjacent lot. His deed restricts my building any structures …

Enforcing Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions Not rated yet
How do you enforce a subdivision's Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions absent a Homeowners' Association? Editors Reply: If there is no homeowners …

Rights of Property Owners Next to Deeded Subdivision Not rated yet
Visitor Question: We live next to a deeded subdivision. The property that adjoins ours in the back has numerous poultry. Their deed says no poultry. …

Filing a Deed Restriction Not rated yet
Can an individual homeowner file his own Deed Restriction or is it always necessary to have a lawyer do it? I was under the impression that an individual …

Can Master Deed Violate Approved Site Plan? Not rated yet
The site plan approved by the city for our condominium does not match the site plan filed with the registry of deeds with respect to parking. The site …

Lifting deed restrictions on rural property Not rated yet
I want to buy a piece of property in metes and bounds in the country. There are now three tracts: (1) 32 acres of woods, (2) 12 acres cleared with a barn …

Vailidity of Unenforced Covenants Not rated yet
If a violation of a covenant is allowed to exist without any action on the part of the HOA, is the covenant still valid the next time it is violated? …

Lack of Enforced Deed Restrictions Not rated yet
Visitor Question: A double wide mobile home was put on property that wasn't supposed to be there. It's been there for fifteen years and owned by two …

Chickens and an HOA Not rated yet
If there are no chickens allowed in an HOA development but we are zoned Agricultural, does this mean that my daughter cannot have them for 4H? It is an …

Developer influencing vote on restrictive covenant  Not rated yet
A developer is trying to develop a golf course and green space which is protected by a restrictive covenant in the deed. We are soon to vote on it with …

Opposition to Deed Restrictions Not rated yet
I'm against deed restriction rules. Because I don't believe people should be forced to do things around their home with threats of liens or summons from …

Can deed restriction limit land use Not rated yet
Can a deed restriction require the use of a piece of property only for a public park? Shouldn't the owner of the property have some more choices than …

Garage violates deed restriction Not rated yet
We have a neighbor that is putting up a huge garage on a property that has a deed restriction. He received a cease and desist, but continues, the garage …

Deed Restrictions Requiring Residency Not rated yet
Our neighborhood organization (not a HOA) has sold some property with a deed restriction requiring that the owner either maintain a business on the property …

Neighborhood HOA FL Not rated yet
My neighborhood association deed of restrictions indicates no signs (realtor, etc) can be displayed in front yards. Is this really enforceable? thanks …

Lack of Enforcement of Deed Restrictions Not rated yet
If Deed Restrictions have not been enforced, do they lose their validity in California. There is no HOA; it is simply a height of a home restriction put …

Can deed restrictions limit use allowed by zoning? Not rated yet
Can a deed restriction (i.e. only single family residences) limit the use allowed by zoning (i.e. cluster homes allowed)? I was under the impression that …

Do our deed restrictions supersede a spot zoning Not rated yet
My neighbor has received a spot zoning change based on the fact that his converted garage was used as a rental prior to 1957. The building has not been …

Click here to write your own.


> > Deed Restrictions


Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required