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Restrictive Covenant - Further Readings

covenants property land court

A provision in a deed limiting the use of the property and prohibiting certain uses. A clause in contracts of partnership and employment prohibiting a contracting party from engaging in similar employment for a specified period of time within a certain geographical area.

A COVENANT is a type of contractual arrangement. A restrictive covenant is a clause in a deed or lease to real property that limits what the owner of the land or lease can do with the property. Restrictive covenants allow surrounding property owners, who have similar covenants in their deeds, to enforce the terms of the covenants in a court of law. They are intended to enhance property values by controlling development.

Land developers typically use restrictive covenants when they subdivide property for residential developments. A land developer, after platting the subdivision into lots, blocks, and streets, will impose certain limitations on the use of the lots in the development. These may include a provision restricting construction to single-family dwellings with no detached outbuildings, as well as specifying that the dwellings are to be built at least a specified distance from the street and from the side and back lot lines, commonly called a "set back" requirement. Another common restrictive covenant specifies a minimum square footage for dwellings. There may be a variety of other restrictive covenants that seek to control the way the development looks and is maintained. These covenants are filed with the approved plat.

A person who purchases a lot in a development with restrictive covenants must honor the limitations. When the purchaser resells the lot to a buyer, the new owner will take the property subject to the restrictive covenants, because the covenants are said to "run with the land."

If a person violates or attempts to violate one or more of the covenants, a person who is benefited by the covenants, usually an adjacent property owner, may sue to enforce the restrictions. Courts generally strictly construe restrictive covenants to allow a landowner to use her land for any purpose that is not specifically prohibited by the restrictive covenants or by the local government. Therefore, if a developer wants to restrict a subdivision to single-family residences, the developer must state "single family residential" rather than "residential" in the covenant.

Restrictive covenants at one time were used to prevent minorities from moving into residential neighborhoods. A group of homeowners would agree not to sell or rent their homes to African Americans, Jews, and other minorities by including this restriction in their real estate deeds. Until 1948 it was thought that this form of private discrimination was legal because the state was not involved. However, in Shelley v. Kraemer, 334 U.S. 1, 68 S. Ct. 836, 92 L. Ed. 1161 (1948), the U.S. Supreme Court held such covenants to be unenforceable in state courts because any such enforcement would amount to STATE ACTION in contravention of the FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT to the U.S. Constitution. For a state court to enforce such an agreement would foster a perception that the state approved of racially restrictive covenants. Although this kind of restrictive covenant is no longer judicially enforceable, racial restrictions are still contained in some deeds.

Apart from real estate law, restrictive covenants may be used in partnership agreements or employment contracts to protect a business if a partner or employee leaves. For example, a life insurance company may require a prospective employee to sign an employment contract in which the employee agrees not to sell life insurance in that geographical area for a specified period of time after leaving the company. If the time and geographical restrictions are reasonable, a court may enforce the restrictions. Some restrictive covenants may be so unfair, however, that a court will declare them contrary to public policy and make them legally unenforceable.

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over 2 years ago

covenants run with the land single family fee simple estate in land appurtenant covenant restrictive reservation warranty deed free of encumbrance document 1926 created driveway binding all others of interest not to build on waste portion of land must be in writing single family only. purchased 1974 current personal tax paid. zone land sale tax scheme. zone variance built attached duplex person of interest 2006, police enforced zoning Kansas city Missouri. judgment 2009 div. 3 to enjoined. 2013 another judgment from another court div. 16 bank sue summary judgment pro se single family fee simple 2009 stricken off record duplex fee simple forever defendants single family fee simple has no title, right, or claim to fee simple land can not enforce another court date. court and state ordered attorneys not to take the case conflict of interest. Jackson county recorder of deeds signed my name grantor to grantee bank sold duplex $1.00 fee simple forever. single family charged trespassing property damage exterior door knob of duplex. vacant non- conforming 2009 through 2016 now being renovated. single family hired attorney stating flat rate fee. once sign in agreement attorney stated you do not own lot 24 fee simple duplex. you only own lot 23 and face $1,000 fine and 6 months in jail. I will not help you. The land belong to somebody in Nebraska. you can only drive to get to the back of your house. The duplex owner has the land now. chapter 5 conveyance title 2 conveyance property code general provision subchapter A does not apply for you to sue covenant construction restrictions. zoning land use attorney legal aid enforced. US Department of Justice, attorney general, governor, or Hud fair housing and KCMO attorneys decline the case too complex conflict of interest. FEE SIMPLE is no use of justice and can be a very expensive litigation scheme. I will advise never to purchase fee simple property. Any suggestions you may have will very much be appreciated