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The facts about deed restrictions

When you choose to live in a planned community in Idaho, you agree to abide by any existing deed restrictions limiting your homeowner rights. Failure to adhere to the conditions may result in fines or litigation.

Purpose

One of the primary purposes of residential deed restrictions is to maintain property values. This objective generally means that properties will conform to stated standards, which may include the following elements:

  • Lot size
  • Home size
  • Exterior paint color
  • Fencing
  • Garage location
  • Construction material

In other words, as someone drives down the street, there shouldn’t be any jarring dissimilarities. Additional restrictions may not permit overnight truck, boat or RV parking, home businesses and certain dog breeds.

Implementation

Covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&R) and the homeowner association (HOA) bylaws are recorded in the county or state land records and enforced by the HOA or property management company. The CCRs establish the covenants the community owners must follow while the bylaws state how the HOA board members implement the laws.

Zoning vs. deed restriction litigation

Zoning laws and deed restrictions are not the same things. Zoning laws are enacted and enforced by a municipality. For example, if a developer wants to convert a golf course into a residential community, it probably requires a zoning change. If there is a disagreement, it may eventually result in planning and zoning litigation against the city.

Disagreements with an HOA may result in fines and civil lawsuits. Deed restrictions are difficult to challenge but not impossible. Some potential grounds for a legal case include the following:

  • Unrecorded amendments are not enforceable
  • Proven inconsistency in the enforcement of the covenant
  • Covenant violates local, state or federal law

Ensure that you read the recorded CC&R and bylaws before you purchase a property in a planned community. Ignorance is not a legal defense.