A deed restriction is a type of private agreement restricting the use of real estate. Such restrictions are usually listed within the written deed document relating to the property, and should be noted if the property is to be sold or transferred. A deed restriction can also place limitations on the title to the property, such as when a seller wishes to sell their property according specific conditions.
There can be many different types of deed restrictions, according to the various needs of the seller or owner of the property. Some common types of deed restrictions can include:
- Limitations on land use
- Restrictions pertaining to the development and additions to home structures
- Restrictions involving the uniformity of structures in a given residential area (this is common for deeds to condos and co-ops)
- Specific instructions regarding the transfer of the deed
Thus deed restrictions can often involve the overall plans or theme for a neighborhood, not just the personal interests of a property owner. As such, the enforcement of deed restrictions can often involve the competing interests of many different parties.
Although deed restrictions can often be helpful for numerous parties, there are times when they cannot be enforced. These can include situations where:
- The applicable term or time period for enforcement has expired
- A condition for enforcement is no longer valid or applicable
- The restrictions provisions are illegal (such as one that violates zoning laws)
- The deed restrictions are clearly against public policy (such a restriction that encourages housing discrimination)
When seeking to have a deed restriction enforced, the courts will usually draw upon state and local laws. Thus, enforcement of deed restrictions can vary by region. Legal remedies for a violation of a valid deed restriction may include a monetary damages award or other types of compensation.
Deed restrictions can sometimes be necessary in order to properly manage some parcels of land. It may be in your best interests to hire a real estate lawyer if you need assistance with drafting, reviewing, or contesting a deed restriction. An experienced attorney in your area can assist you with these tasks, and can also represent you in court in the event that a lawsuit becomes necessary.