What Are Deed Restrictions in HOA Communities?
What is a deed-restricted community? Simply put, a deed-restricted community is a development with certain limitations on what actions residents can make. Deed restrictions, also known as restrictive covenants, dictate what homeowners can and can’t do with their property. These are requirements that homeowners agree to upon moving into the HOA and, thus, must follow.
Common Deed Restrictions to Watch Out For
No two homeowners associations are exactly alike, both in terms of structure and in terms of deed restrictions. Every HOA has different restrictions in place. If you want to know how to find out deed restrictions in your community, simply ask the agent or HOA itself prior to purchasing the property. It is important to familiarize yourself with restrictive covenants so that you know what you are getting into.
While not all associations have the same policies, these are some of the most common deed restrictions in HOA communities today: house color, number of vehicles, number of bedrooms, pet policies, fences and other structures, renovation plans, cutting down trees, blocking your neighbor’s view, use of property for business, etc.
How to Fight Deed Restrictions
HOA communities impose deed restrictions in a general effort to maintain uniformity, boost curb appeal, and raise property values. Sometimes, though, the restrictions can go too far and start to suffocate residents. It is important to keep in mind that not all deed restrictions are enforceable. Illegal restrictive covenants, for instance, are ineffectual. Vague or outdated deed restrictions may also be deemed unenforceable. Although changing deed restrictions can come as a challenge, homeowners are not entirely powerless. You can head to your county courthouse to acquire a copy of the restrictive covenant. This usually contains the terms on how to alter the restriction. You can also secure a waiver providing you with permission to go against the restrictive covenant.
Do Deed Restrictions Expire?
If changing the restriction or securing a waiver does not pan out, you can always wait for the restrictive covenant to expire, though this is not always a viable option. In general, deed restrictions do not expire. Some restrictions, though, have expiration dates. You can find out whether a restrictive covenant has an expiration date by heading to your county courthouse. The copy of the restriction should indicate whether or not there is an expiration date. Even if the deed restriction has an expiration date, though, that does not necessarily mean you are in the clear. Your HOA can still vote to extend the restriction’s time limit.
Why Deed Restrictions Matter
Deed restrictions in HOA communities can turn off a lot of potential homeowners from moving in. However, you must remember that these restrictions exist for a purpose. As a homeowner, you naturally want your investment to flourish. You cannot sell your house at a profit later on if its property value does not rise. And, believe it or not, HOAs play a key role in increasing property values by maintaining curb appeal and consistency throughout the neighborhood.