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What to do after deed restrictions have expired

by Lana
(Homosassa Florida)

Visitor Question: I purchased a home 2 years ago here in Florida. I was told it was deed restricted until about May of 2018. That's when through social media I found out it had expired in 2003. Now with that being said, I want to know how to take it off my deed.

Editors Reply: You don't need to do anything to remove the restriction if it has expired. When you sell the home, refinance it, or otherwise someone is looking at your ownership, the expiration automatically will come up in a search of your county's records. No action on your part will be required.

We suppose something truly oddball could happen, such as the deed restrictions themselves through the master deed requiring that you file to remove the restrictions. But we haven't ever heard of such a thing. In general, our first paragraph holds true throughout the U.S.

The only concern we have for you is that you said you learned about the expiration through social media. If it matters to you, we recommend that you take the time to verify this through asking your county clerk's office. You don't have to know how to do the records search; they will either do it for you or give you instructions and coaching as you go along. It shouldn't take too much time. Yes, it is a nuisance to go there during office hours, but truly, this is the only way to be sure.

Social media are good for many things, but actually your neighbors could be quite poorly informed. It's also possible that the person who posted this lived in a different phase of the development where restrictions actually did expire earlier, but that this earlier date would not be relevant to you.

If it doesn't really matter to you whether the deed restrictions have expired or not, meaning that you do not plan to do something that formerly was prohibited, you can just forget about it. In the natural course of things, a title company or anyone else looking at encumbrances against your property will note that the restrictions are expired through the same process that they might note that there were covenants in the first place.

In the world of home ownership and complicated real estate transactions, this is one less thing to worry about! So many people write to us desperate to remove some deed restriction that they think is too old, too unfair, or not enforceable because they see other people violating it, and we have to give them bad news. It's a pleasure to deliver good news in this instance.



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