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What is a restrictive covenant and what does it mean for you?

As a Massachusetts property owner, there are certain things you need to know about your home. Zoning laws and other types of restrictions can affect how you use your property and your plans for future changes, and you would be wise to learn what they can mean for you. A restrictive covenant is an example of something that may affect what you are able to do with the property you own. 

Restrictive covenants affect certain types of property, prohibiting owners from doing certain things with it and limiting alterations. Some call these covenants deed restrictions. If you live in a community that has restrictive covenants or you are considering property in this type of community, you would be wise to do your homework and learn everything you can about your property rights.

What restrictions affect your property use?

Restrictive covenants are most common in residential communities such as apartment complexes, condominium neighborhoods and other similar communities. By having these types of covenants in place with property owners, the community can have a uniform look and ensure that one owner does not compromise property values.

In many cases, restrictions in residential neighborhoods are beneficial because they can keep your neighbor from painting his or her home a garish color or building an unsightly storage structure in the backyard. Restrictive covenants often pertain to the following issues: 

  • Prohibiting owners from opening home-based businesses
  • Keeping people from changing the architectural integrity of the outside of their home
  • Preventing people from parking too many cars in their driveways
  • Limiting the number of pets or ownership of certain types of pets

Deed restrictions can provide homeowners with certain protections, but they can also potentially infringe on your rights. If you are facing complications over the enforcement of a restrictive covenant, it may be necessary to take steps to ensure you do not experience a violation of your property rights.

What can you do when facing a conflict? 

When there are issues over the terms and enforcement of a restrictive covenant, it is often in the interests of the property owner to seek legal guidance. You may need to have an experienced legal professional to review the contract and explain your rights and how to deal with the current conflict.

You invested a significant amount of money in your residential property, and you can take steps to protect both your financial investment and your right to do as you see fit with your property within the boundaries of deed restrictions.

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