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Does a restrictive covenant affect your property?

On Behalf of | Jul 26, 2021 | Land Use And Zoning |

If you have a restrictive covenant affecting your property, you should know that it may restrict the ways that you can use your land. The reason for this restrictive covenant is usually to preserve the value and enjoyment of pieces of adjoining lands. For instance, the restrictive covenant on your property may state that you cannot build a shed on the property or that you cannot paint your home a garish color specified in the article.

While a restrictive covenant can be frustrating, it’s usually intended to help keep the value of the property high while preventing actions that could hurt the surrounding area.

Are there any exceptions to restrictive covenants?

There are some exceptions to restrictive covenants, because the previous homeowners won’t have been able to include any kinds of requirements that they wanted. They have to stay within the law. For instance, Massachusetts encourages the use of renewable energy, so any kind of restriction on solar systems, for example, would be void.

Restrictive covenants are also not able to be enforced for more than three decades at a time. This is for a good reason, since laws, the environment and other aspects of society change significantly in that time. There is a potential to extend the covenant beyond 30 years, but this is only allowed if a majority of the owners agree that the extension should occur.

Should you buy a property with a restrictive covenant?

It depends. Is the restrictive covenant on your potential property something that you can easily work with? For example, does it restrict you from planting tall trees while you have no plans to do so? In that case, the restrictive covenant may have no real impact on your homeownership. However, if the restrictive covenant does restrict something you want to do, like installing a pool or adding on a large porch to your home, then you may want to think twice before you make that purchase.

While you may be able to get the covenant removed in some cases, failing to adhere to one could lead to legal trouble. That’s why you need to be clear on the requirements before you make the purchase and look into the ability to get special permits.


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