Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions
What are Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs)?
Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) are private restrictions on the use of real property that must be enforced by homeowners’ associations, not municipalities. CC&Rs are also the rights and obligations of owners of condominium units, townhouses, PUDs, and similar associations. These restrictions affect how the land may be used.
How are Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions created?
They are usually created by developers who write them into deeds or bylaws for a subdivision. CC&R examples include the requirement of a particular style of any house in a subdivision, the restriction of the height of a fence, the banning of certain types of building materials and satellite dishes.
How are Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions enforced?
Every property owner has the right to seek enforcement of a deed restriction through the courts. So, if you paint your house orange when a restrictive covenant prohibits using that color, any of your neighbors can seek an injunction to force you to paint your house another unrestricted color. However, if your neighbors ignore your new paint job for a certain length of time, they may lose the right to take you to court. The law of the state in which the property is located governs the time frame after which you can lose the right to seek enforcement of a deed restriction. The loss of a right that results from not using it is called laches.
How do Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions differ from public restrictions?
Public restrictions are created using zoning ordinances. Unlike private restrictions, they must tend to promote the public health, welfare, and safety. Deed restrictions or CC&Rs that place unreasonable or unlawful restraints on an owner’s use of the land will be unenforceable. In conclusion, if there is a conflict between a deed restriction and zoning rules, whichever is the more restrictive will usually prevail.
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