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What are Deed Restrictions?

By Katharine Swan
Updated May 17, 2024
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Real estate deed restrictions are restrictions on the deed that place limitations on the use of the property. Restrictive covenants are an example of these restrictions. Such restrictions are usually initiated by the developers - those who determined what the land would be used for, divided the land into plots, and built homes, office buildings, or retail buildings on it. Deed restrictions come with the property and usually can’t be changed or removed by subsequent owners.

Deed restrictions such as restrictive covenants are often put in place to maintain a desired look in a neighborhood. To that end, they may prevent owners from building more than a pre-established number of homes on one lot. These restrictions can also specify what materials or style a building may or may not be constructed of, and how close to the street it can be. They can even specify the minimum size that a house on the lot may be!

Deed restrictions govern more than just the construction of buildings on a property. Restrictive covenants in a residential neighborhood dictate what types of materials fences may be made out of, or establish limits regarding pets, such as how many pets can be kept in a home or the conditions they must be kept in. Covenants often protect the aesthetic appearance of the neighborhood by providing a list of acceptable paint colors for the exterior of the house, regulating tree-cutting and other landscaping issues, or prohibiting the use of the lot for storage of campers, trailers, or cars that don’t run. Covenants might also establish road maintenance or amenities fees – that brand-new “maintenance free” home costs more than the sale amount!

It’s important to be aware of the deed restrictions on a property before making an offer. Some covenants might seem too restrictive or prohibit you from making a change to the property that is important to you. If your real estate agent or the seller does not offer you a copy of the deed restrictions, you can find the information at the county courthouse. Make sure you read the deed restrictions closely, as you don’t want to end up getting trapped into a covenant you strongly disagree with.

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Discussion Comments
By anon310717 — On Dec 26, 2012

@Enigma: You don't have to follow law. Let the man have his mobile home. He isn't hurting anybody.

By anon280999 — On Jul 21, 2012

If someone is breaking deeds of conditions by keeping a bike at door of the flat, what can be done? The property factor company says nothing.

By anon267674 — On May 11, 2012

How is it constitutional for one owner in the chain of possession of a property to be able to place restrictions on the property that last forever unless in some cases neighbors who have no ownership in the property vote to change the restrictions?

By anon228984 — On Nov 11, 2011

We were not given a copy of the covenants and restrictions on property we purchased. The house was full of mold; both the inside and outside of the house have to be replaced.

We are now told that the same material that failed, efus, must be replaced. I had a severe reaction to the mold, pneumonia.

Am I required to build a house that is due to fail?

By anon187902 — On Jun 19, 2011

Does a Deed Restriction override Zoning Classification? The area I live in is zoned agricultural, but he deeds for the land restrict farm animals. Which rules?

By anon173292 — On May 06, 2011

You can find deed restrictions online most likely if your HOA has a website. If I had known what I know now, I would never have moved into a deed restricted community. I live in Deep Creek, Florida where the restrictions seem very unreasonable. We keep our property well kept but because we don't have a certain amount of bushes, plants trees etc. we are in violation.

Seems to me that more than 80 percent of the people here are in violation, according to them. I don't have a problem with others not having a certain amount of landscaping on their property as long as it is kept. They have been across the street at a neighbor who probably has the nicest house in the immediate area but from what I found out, they don't have enough bushes or plants around the entire perimeter.

They don't care if people are struggling financially. They expect people to pay for landscapers. I also don't appreciate them on my property without my permission. We have reported them.

By anon169213 — On Apr 20, 2011

I live in Lancaster,PA. How may I find deed restrictions on my home/property?

By anon152637 — On Feb 14, 2011

I'm trying to do a double closing on a fannie mae property, i.e., buy it and sell it on the same day. there are deed restrictions on selling it for a price over 120 percent of the purchase price. i intend to do some work on it after i sell it because the eventual buyer is my friend. is there a way around this deed restriction?

By anon143137 — On Jan 15, 2011

How do I find out if I live in a Deed Restricted neighborhood?

By anon118071 — On Oct 12, 2010

I live in a neighborhood that the homeowners association has been dissolved many years ago. We want to build a detached 20x22 garage on our property. It qualifies with the city ordinances but not the deed restrictions that were put in place 35 years ago. How can I find out if we can build this or not?

By anon51372 — On Nov 05, 2009

How can i find out if deed restrictions are filed and up to date? We live in a place that is over 30 years old. Can the restriction be renewed?

By nj115reader — On Jun 24, 2009

I own an older home on a greenery- and wildlife-filled lot. Local developers have been bugging me for years about buying the property to build more shoddy McMansions.

1) How do I place deed restrictions on it to prevent these vampires from destroying it should anything happen to me?

2) How can I find out whether there are any restrictions already on it?

By anon19513 — On Oct 13, 2008

Our Homeowner's Association have Deed Restrictions and also Bylaws. My question is - can the Bylaws override the Deed Restrictions. The Deed Restrictions can be changed, but only by a majority vote of the homeowners. The Bylaws can be modified just by the Board of Directors.

By evamw — On Jun 16, 2008

My husband and I just bought a house and we could not get the deed restrictions from the seller. who do we contact to get one?

By Pammy — On May 24, 2008

is a quit claim deed that is notarized but not recorded legal? can it be used as a legal document?

By pcjs1594 — On Apr 29, 2008

how can i find the deed restrictions for my house?? and how can deed restrictions be changed or removed? Thanks

By Dove — On Mar 03, 2008

I live in a deed restricted mobile home community, Brevard County, Florida. An overwhelmingly majority of homeowners want to amend the deed of restrictions with gathering signatures on petitions to produce a referendum election to limit rental homes to seasonal (6 month) rentals only. are there any laws stating we can't do this?

By shuttle — On Jul 15, 2007

Enigma,

our restrictions say: you and other homeowners together can pay for a lawyer and file the complaint, you will win and the clown will have to pay for lawyer fees and a $5000 fine!

Check your papers for other info. Like this and if you don't have it, your town clerk should have it on file, even though they are not responsible for any actions- it's on record.

Good luck

shuttle

By shuttle — On Jul 15, 2007

I live in a nice development with reasonable deed restrictions and my question is: do deed restriction add to the value of your home and how much?

Also: if someone breaks a restriction, can you lose any value in a resale?

By Enigma — On Jun 14, 2007

We have a clown who is moving a mobile home/trailer/modular house into the neighborhood where there are specific deed restrictions prohibiting it. Who enforces the restructions? How do we stop him from doing it?

By anon1175 — On May 19, 2007

My question is can a deed restriction be put on the use of a room in a condo. A builder is building a condo that has two bedrooms and a den with a closet, they are trying to deed restrict the room to just a den and I want to use it for a third bedroom, is that something they can do in New Jersey?

By anon877 — On May 07, 2007

how can deed restrictions be changed or removed?

By anon370 — On Apr 23, 2007

how can i find the deed restrictions for my house??

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