Restrictive covenants regulate what the residents of a particular neighborhood can and cannot do with their property. They are put in place for two reasons:
- To preserve and enhance property value in the neighborhood
- To prevent annoyance, distraction, or offensive use by their neighbors for what would fall outside of normal law
Covenants ensure that a neighborhood will remain a desirable one to live in. Since zoning laws can change, covenants could be the only thing standing in the way of a strip club or chicken processing plant from moving in.*
Restrictive covenants can vary greatly from place to place. They may restrict the paint colors that can be used on the exterior of a home or the type of plants to be used as landscaping. They may control pets, vehicle parking, security lights and alarms, mailboxes, or remote-control toys. Covenants may also include fees for road maintenance or amenities. It is important to note that they may impose stricter rules on easements and setbacks than local government zoning laws.
Before purchasing a home, make sure you’re familiar with the restrictive covenants for the neighborhood you’ll be living in.
*Restrictive covenants have nothing to do with zoning or governmental regulations. Those are separate issues that could affect the way you use the property.