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Removing Deed Restrictions

Discussion in 'Liens & Encumbrances' started by meatloaf, Mar 16, 2021.

  1. meatloaf

    meatloaf Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
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    I'm guessing that I'm going to need to consult a local attorney about this to actually make any progress, but I wanted to make sure I wasn't going to be wasting someone's time so I'm asking here first to see if I should pursue this further with an attorney.

    I bought 5 acres in the Toledo, Ohio area that I used to build my house on. A previous owner placed deed restrictions on the property that limited some of the things you could and could not do with the property. It prohibits certain things (like putting a fence in the front yard or owning any livestock except chickens) and any improvements on the property require the approval of the original owners who set up the deed restrictions (thought it does not provide a way to get in contact with said owners).

    My question is can the deed restrictions be removed? The only clause in the restrictions that deals with the term of the deed restrictions states "These covenants and restrictions are to run with the land and shall be binding upon owners, and all persons claiming under or through them, until the first day of January 2014, at which time said covenants and restrictions shall be automatically extended for successive periods of ten years".

    Based on that, is there a way to cancel them at the end of one of the ten year periods? Do I have any hope?
     
  2. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Probably not. But it wouldn't hurt to consult an attorney and review your options.

    Sure. You have the option of ignoring them and doing whatever you want with the property with the hope that the writer of the restrictions is no longer around to enforce them.

    Before you do that there's a couple of things you should check on.

    It's possible that your lot was part of a larger property that got subdivided and all the lots have the same deed restrictions. Check on that with the county records.

    Deed restrictions often are written to allow any property owner in the subdivision to file suit to enforce them. See if yours is written that way. If it is you will have to consider the possibility of being sued by a neighbor who doesn't approve of you not complying with the restrictions.

    There is also the possibility that other owners in the subdivision have already violated the restrictions. If so, then the restrictions may be unenforceable because of the change in the attributes of the subdivision.

    If it turns out that your property is the only one effected by the restrictions you can choose to ignore them if you like and take your chances that you won't be sued for it. I haven't found a statute of limitations specific to breaching a deed restriction. The SOL for breach of a written contract (8 years) might apply.
     
  3. meatloaf

    meatloaf Law Topic Starter New Member

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    The deed restrictions apply to the lots on either side of me, as well. The original owners of all of the lots (the people who put the deed restrictions in place originally) live two doors down. My next door neighbor has already had issues with them over aspects of the deed restrictions, so I don't think ignoring them will be a viable strategy.

    Why do the restrictions have to be renewed for 10 year periods? Why not a longer period? Why not in perpetuity? It seems odd to me to word it that way.
     
  4. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    I suspect that it has to do with the law in your municipality, or even statewide. You will probably discover the reason as you research the path for removing them.
     
  5. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    Ditto what I told you at the other site where you posted the same thing.
     
  6. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Would have saved me some time had you posted those details in the beginning.

    Wait. You originally said:

    Now you're telling us they are two houses down from you.

    Because the law allows for it. It's a common boilerplate provision in many of the deed restrictions I read while I was looking for a house two years ago.

    What, exactly, do you want to do with your property that doesn't comply with the deed restrictions?

    And why didn't you figure this out before you made an offer on the property?

    I looked up the deed restrictions on every house I looked at and gave a hard pass to the ones that prohibited what I wanted to do.
     
    army judge likes this.
  7. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Clever and brilliantly simple.
     
  8. welkin

    welkin Active Member

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    The bolded line above makes the covenants and restrictions appurtenant to the land. That means that no matter how long or who owns the property the restrictions are part of the land. And since the deed says that the restrictions automatically renew every 10 years, it means that the attorney that drafted the deed was a moron. They are redundant clauses.

    By all means speak with an attorney but your chances of removing the covenants and restrictions is about 0%. You bought the land knowing of them. Your only hope is that the parson that sold you the land dies and the heirs don't know about them or don't care.
     
  9. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    I suspect (but have not verified) that the state has some sort of law against deed restrictions lasting for more than 10 years. If that is the case, then the renewal language would make perfect sense in order to get around the prohibition.
     
    hrforme likes this.
  10. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    I looked at many deed restrictions. It was a common provision that the initial period was 25 or 30 years followed by successive extensions of 10 years each.

    I just re-read mine and was reminded that mine has a provision whereby the restrictions can be modified by a vote of 2/3 of the lot owners in the initial period and a majority of the lot owners thereafter.

    Check yours and see if there is something similar.

    Thank you. I'm rather proud of myself. :D

    Home buyers could save themselves a lot of grief by doing their homework before even making an offer.
     
  11. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    As you should be.

    Home buyers are far more panicky when they are searching for a house than car buyers searching for four wheels and an engine.

    I'm never in a hurry to spend money.

    If I dislike one thing about any deal, I walk, no questions asked.

    I simply walk away.

    On another note, I agree with how you describe real estate sales people.

    In fact, that description applies equally to car sales people, too!
     
  12. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    I equate the two.

    Same here. I must have looked at 30 houses in 2019. Many had adverse deed restrictions, some didn't but there were other reasons, and some were just overpriced. But that was 2019. This year there doesn't seem to be any such thing as an overpriced house. Sellers' market and low interest rates.
     

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