When house hunting, it’s common to hear the term “protective covenants”. A neighborhood with a home painted Pepto-Bismol pink, two or three nonoperable automobiles or four dogs is full of common examples of areas where there are no protective covenants.
Webster defines a covenant as “a formal binding agreement”. When properly prepared and recorded at the County Courthouse, covenants become “deed restrictions” that pass with transfer of ownership of the property.
Also known as CC&Rs (covenants, conditions and restrictions), these documents should be obtained through a Realtor and read thoroughly prior to entering into a home or land purchase agreement. That shed, fence or guest house may not be allowed. When purchasing land, watch for minimum building square footage on proposed homes.
However, some people prefer the freedom of having no deed restrictions. Although most newer subdivisions have adopted covenant controls, there are many areas in the county without them. If such controls are objectionable, convenant-controlled areas may be places to avoid.
Can covenants be violated? Of course they can, but this is a violation of the “law of the land” and would more than likely be argued in a courtroom.
Whether or not neighborhood controls are preferred over more individual freedom, prospective home buyers should be sure to ask if there are protective covenants. If there are, buyers would be well-advised to ask for a copy and read them thoroughly.