Deed Restrictions

Deed Restrictions: What to Know Before You Buy

Elaine McCampbell Uncategorized

Before you buy a parcel of land in Texas, you should understand the limitations applied with deed restrictions to some properties that dictate how land can be used. Deed restrictions are written documents governing the use of a lot or parcel of land. The document is recorded with the county register where the property is located. Here we explain everything you should know about deed restrictions before you buy.

Why are Deed Restrictions Used?

Property owners (grantors) who want to enhance the value of their property often place restrictions on the land. While in some cases the terms are lifted after a certain amount of time, in most cases, the restrictions are tied to the land permanently. As a result, all future owners (grantees) are limited in how they can use the land.

Are There Limitations to What Deed Restrictions are Applied?

Although there are some laws and public policies that apply to deed restrictions, for the most part, there really are no limitations regarding the subject matter of the document. However, restrictions can only be enforced if they are deemed:

  • Reasonable in nature
  • Not immoral or illegal
  • Not contrary to public policy

For example, a grantor can not restrict who the grantee can sell the property to based on something like race or religion.

Do Deed Restrictions Only Affect Purchases of Land?

No. Many home buyers are unaware that when they purchase acreage within a residential subdivision, there are often deed restrictions and architectural control guidelines tied to that land. These restrictions are applied by property owners, developers or property owners associations looking to maintain continuity of a subdivision or land tract. Therefore, it is important for buyers to ask to review deed restrictions before committing to purchase a home in a subdivision. You can also search for deed restrictions on the county clerk’s public records.

What Types of Limitations are Common for Deed Restrictions?

Some of the most common subject matter listed on deed restrictions in Texas include:

  • Livestock
  • Hunting
  • Mobile homes
  • Easements and usage of easements
  • Splits and/or land divisions
  • Outdoor storage such as RV’s, trailers, etc.
  • Junk on properties
  • Land designation changes to commercial, industrial or governmental use
  • Structure size and location
  • Quality and design of improvements
  • Setback and yard requirements
  • Architectural styles

However, some landowners can be quite creative in their deed restrictions and can place limits that include a certain tract where development is completely prohibited, as well as limitations designed to protect local wildlife and the ecosystem.

What Types of Deed Restrictions are There?

There are two forms of deed restrictions or “restrictive covenants”:

  1. Personal covenant: Personal covenants are contracts between the present grantor and grantee. As a result, once the grantee sells the land, the new owners are not affected by the deed restrictions.
  2. Real covenants: With real covenants, the restrictions “run with the land.” In this case, the covenant and property are bound forever regardless of how many times the land is sold. Once recorded the deed restrictions apply to all subsequent transferees making all owners obligated to respect the restrictions.

Keep in mind most deed restrictions are designed to help a property maintain its value. If you discover the restrictions seem to limit your ability to profit from your investment, then the land is not the right choice for you.

Looking to buy or sell land with or without a deed restrictions? Contact the premier rural brokerage, Ruple Properties for a free consultation.