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Could restrictive covenants have you rethinking development?

When building in Middlesex County, it is important to understand the laws of the area and whether any restrictions on the land apply. As a real estate developer, you certainly do not want to land in hot water because your project did not stay in line with certain expectations.

In particular, restrictive covenants can apply to the purchase of land and the development of new communities. These covenants could affect anyone, such as you as the developer or individuals hoping to purchase a home in the area. Because restrictive covenants apply to the land itself and not the particular owners, you could face certain restrictions.

Common restrictive covenants

When restrictive covenants are present, the way in which you develop the desired land could have to fall in line with predetermined rules. Some of the more common restrictive covenants include the following:

  • Fees for road maintenance
  • Rules that limit tree cutting
  • Regulations for setbacks, such as the distance from roads to the building
  • Easements for the use of power lines, public roads or other purposes
  • Stipulations for certain building materials
  • Restrictions on the type of colors or siding that homes may have
  • Covenants regarding the size and style of structures
  • Terms applying to the number of homes or other buildings on a lot

Typically, restrictive covenants can help protect property value by restricting activities or the possibility of garish buildings going up in an area. Of course, these restrictions may put you in a difficult spot as a developer if they clash with your ideas.

Finding restrictions

In some cases, after making a land purchase, the seller may provide you with a document that includes the restrictive covenants. However, that may not always happen, and it would work in your favor to ensure that you find out whether any covenants on the property exist and how they could affect your project. In some cases, the restrictions may make you rethink your purchase of the property, and planning for that possibility is wise.

Because restrictive covenants can greatly affect land use and possibly influence whether you want to go through with purchasing property, having the right information from the beginning is vital. Fortunately, working with a land use attorney could help you find out whether any covenants exist, how they may affect your project, whether you could remove the covenant and how to handle any other issue that may affect your situation.

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