Deeds are complex legal documents. And they come with restrictions, sometimes to the surprise of the property buyers. How much do you know about deed restrictions and the unexpected ways they can control the way you're allowed to use your property?
What is a restrictive covenant?
a binding agreement about the use of property between multiple landowners
a restriction on how a property can be used, imposed by the local government
a ban on a property being sold without agreement by the neighbors
What is the difference between a restrictive covenant and a deed restriction?
A restrictive covenant is mandatory, and a deed restriction is optional.
A restrictive covenant is optional, and a deed restriction is mandatory.
There is no real difference.
True or False: Restrictive covenants are always listed and explained in full in the text of a deed.
Which party of a property transaction do restrictive covenants apply?
the buyer, after he or she buys the land
the seller, after he or she sells the land
all of the above
What does the phrase "runs with the land" mean, referring to restrictive covenants?
that the restrictions apply to the land itself, not any specific owner
that the restrictions apply to any land that the initial owner buys in the future
that the restrictions apply to all land adjacent to the plot whose deed has the restrictive covenants
What type of organization typically creates restrictive covenants today?
the federal government
What is the primary purpose of restrictive covenants?
to keep undesirable people from moving in
to maintain property values
to prevent crime
In what year did the U.S. Supreme Court rule that restrictive covenants attempting to exclude property owners of a certain race or religion unconstitutional?
True or False: Despite the Supreme Court's decision in Shelley V. Kraemer, many active restrictive covenants still contain racially discriminatory language.
When is a restrictive covenant legally unenforceable?
when the terms of the restrictions are too vague to be enforced
when the terms of the restrictions are too strict to be reasonably obeyed
when the people who first agreed to the covenant are dead
True or False: Restrictive covenants can never expire.
What action can homeowners associations take to release property owners from a deed restriction?
They can grant a variance or waiver.
They can help them apply to the city government to have the restriction removed.
They cannot take any action to release them.
True or False: Restrictive covenants can be dissolved if all the involved parties agree to dissolve them.
What type of animal can be barred from a home or neighborhood by deed restrictions?
rabid animals only
any type of animal
How can you convince a judge to overturn a deed restriction barring commercial use of residential property?
by proving that the restriction infringes on your personal right to earn an income
by first applying to the city for a permit
it is impossible to have such a restriction overturned
True or False: If you build a house that violates deed restrictions, an injunction could force you to make changes to your new home.
Which of these amenities on a property, other than the house itself, can deed restrictions affect?
outbuildings, like sheds and garages
both of the above
True or False: It is illegal for a deed restriction to limit what color you can paint your house.
In some municipalities, deed restrictions limit the amount of bedrooms that homes can have, for what reason?
to control the population
to prevent stress on the sanitation infrastructure
to comply with fire codes
Vacation neighborhoods often put deed restrictions in place to protect what aspect of homeowner's properties?