This is a question that typically comes up as we are searching for homes. Sometimes it is discussed in the initial home buyer consultation particularly if there is a need for the ability to store a boat, camper, or trailer on the property, if they need to have fencing, or if they have a number of pets.
What are Restrictive Covenants?
Restrictive Covenants are the rules associated with the development and use of the property. These are recorded at the time that the subdivision plat is approved.
Some things that are addressed in restrictive covenants:
The minimum size of the improvements, meaning that a builder cannot build a McMansion or a shack in the middle of a development of 1400 sq. ft. houses.
The setbacks for the houses to be placed on the lots including placement in proximity to the lot lines.
The restriction of livestock or other household pets. This is where restrictive covenants can cause an issue. Some developments have a restriction of 1 dog. If you have 2 dogs, do you really want to live in this development? In essence, a crabby neighbor can enforce the covenants if you have more dogs than it says. Especially if the dogs are disturbing their quiet enjoyment of their property.
Restrictions on fencing. Most restrictive covenants simply have a minimum of a vinyl coated chain link fence. Local building codes may make additional restrictions on corner lots for privacy fencing.
Restrictions on trailers, additional vehicles or recreation vehicles. Let's face it, you may have a nice boat with a nice cover or a camper, but most of the time these covenants are in place to keep your neighborhood looking nice. No one wants to see your car on blocks stored under a blue tarp all year round.
These are just a few of the examples...there are many others. The restrictive covenants typically run with the property for 20-25 years and then are automatically extended in 10 year increments after that. If you have a concern, you should always make reviewing and accepting these restrictive covenants within 3 days of acceptance a contingency of the purchase agreement.
When I show a home to a buyer, I have already researched and have a copy with me of the restrictive covenants in case they like a home enough to make an offer. That way, we do not have to wait for the listing agent to get them to us. It is helpful to know this before you see a home that may otherwise be perfect for you and your family.
Call me at 319-521-0701 or visit my website at www.KarenFeltman.com today to schedule your free home buyer consultation!