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Real property

deed restrictions

A deed restriction—also known as a restrictive covenant—is a limitation on how a piece of property can be used. Deed restrictions may limit activities on a property, uses of a property, and the type of home or building that can be built on a property.

Deed restrictions are essentially contractual promises or agreements (covenants) regarding the use of property and a buyer agrees to the deed restrictions when purchasing the property.

Homeowners’ associations (HOAs), residential subdivisions, and neighborhood and community associations often have deed restrictions on what can be placed, stored, or done on the property. Deed restrictions commonly address:

• fences (height, material)

• home businesses

• exterior colors

• motor vehicles without current license plates

• recreational vehicles (RVs)

• mobile homes

• boats and trailers

• farm animals

• yard signs

• dividing lots (for resale)

• short term rentals (Airbnb)

• setbacks (from the street)

• house sizes

• architecture (with approval required by committee)

• pets

• dues and assessments

• single-family residential dwellings only

• obstruction of neighbors’ views

• planting trees, shrubs, bushes

• other buildings and structures

Deed restrictions may be volunteered by a residential or commercial property owner in connection with a zoning change application. In that context the volunteered deed restrictions are intended to address specific conditions on the property to make the proposed zoning classification more appropriate.

Deed restrictions are usually enforceable if they are (1) reasonable; (2) not immoral or illegal; and (3) not contrary to public policy.

In Texas, deed restrictions, also known as restrictive covenants, are legally enforceable limitations on the use of property that are often established by homeowners' associations (HOAs), residential subdivisions, and community associations. These restrictions can dictate various aspects of property use and maintenance, including but not limited to the height and material of fences, the presence of home businesses, exterior colors, parking for vehicles and recreational equipment, types of animals allowed, and the size and architecture of buildings. Deed restrictions are agreed upon by the buyer at the time of property purchase and are binding. They can also be offered by property owners as part of a zoning change application to address specific property conditions. To be enforceable, deed restrictions must be reasonable, legal, and not against public policy. Violations of deed restrictions can lead to legal action by the HOA or other parties with enforcement authority. Texas Property Code and local ordinances govern the creation, enforcement, and challenge of deed restrictions within the state.

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