A restrictive covenant is an agreement between a property owner and others that places limitations on how the property can be used. Usually, the covenant is drafted in the deed to the land, or is alluded to in the deed. The covenant is also on public record at a county recorder’s office or city government; a record of the covenant may also be retained by the homeowner’s association.

Reasons for Restrictive Covenants

Restrictive covenants help to retain the property values of the homes in the neighborhood. Whether or not you reside in a condominium or development, it is to your benefit to be informed about any restrictive covenants because they may impede your quality of life. Knowledge of such covenants is especially important when deciding to purchase property.

Examples of Restrictive Covenants

Here are some examples of restrictive covenants:

  • Having a home-based business
  • Restrictions of building specific parts of your property
  • Keeping the property in good condition
  • Conforming to the color and style of the other properties in the development
  • Parking on the property
  • Restrictions on the breed of pet and number of pets
  • Restrictions on the height of the fence
  • Restrictions on the installations of pools

Restrictive covenants "run with the land" in that the limitations are applicable to the property, and any future purchasers of the property.

Purchasing a Property

When you are purchasing a property, you should inquire about any restrictive covenants on the property. Prior to making an offer, it is imperative that you first obtain a copy of the covenant from the seller or your realtor. If neither of them is in possession of a copy, then you can request one from the county courthouse.

Adhering to the Covenant

If you refuse to adhere to the covenant and, as a result, grievances are filed, the association charged with enforcing the covenant will inform you of its decision with respect your right to remain on the property.

Should I Consult an Attorney?

If you have any questions about a restrictive covenant on your property, consult a real estate attorney, who can review the covenant, and clarify any of its provisions for you.