Deed restrictions can bring nasty surprises to homeowners who want to remodel or even when they’re buying a home. These restrictions can limit options over a property features, such as the number of bedrooms, the building height, the type of vehicles allowed in the driveway, the fencing, the type and number of trees that can be removed, and even the style and color of construction materials used in a renovation (often is intended to limit architectural variations in a neighborhood).
Deed restrictions – often called “restrictive covenants” – can cause problems later if they’re not understood upfront, and they’re not limited to properties that are part of a homeowners association. In some cases, they’re limited by a developer rule included in a deed.
“Deed restrictions turn up during title searches and a careful reading of the current deed,” a realtor.com article notes. Anyone who buys the property must abide by the restrictions, even if they were put in place on the land a century ago. Deed restrictions are known for being difficult to change and often take a judicial ruling to invalidate them.
“When building a new home, or even doing an addition to your current home, it’s vital that you check your deed for any building restrictions,” advises Bill Golden, a real estate professional in Atlanta.
Zachary D. Schorr, a Los Angeles real estate attorney, says that he’s seen deed restrictions run the gamut, such as those that require exterior paint colors to match colors found in nature to those that restricted rental properties.
“With the rise of VRBO and Airbnb, we are even seeing restrictions on nightly rentals and the minimum rental period for a house,” Schorr says.
Source: “Building, Buying, or Beefing Up a Home? Watch Out for Annoying Deed Restrictions,” realtor.com® (March 1, 2017)
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