A Word About Deed Restrictions
Tired of reading all that legal jargon about “Restrictive Covenants?” We don’t blame you.
The legal stuff is important. If we ever have to pursue legal action against someone, these documents are the road maps that guide us through the courts. And because we think it’s important, we put it on the Web site.
Tom Stovall a former board member put it in layman’s terms.
"Restrictive Covenants" is another term for Deed Restrictions. Those covenants tell association members what they can and can’t do. And they are used by our management company to enforce a community standard for appearance and usage within the association.
That sounds harsh, and maybe it is. We get questions all the time along the lines of “It’s my property – why can’t I just do what I want to with it?” Fair question and I’ll try to answer that.
First, remember that we live within the city limits of Houston. And guess what Houston doesn’t have? Zoning. That pretty much means that – absent some governing body and guiding covenants – anybody COULD do just about anything they want to (within the law, of course) with their property. How’d you like to have a topless bar right across the street? (If you WOULD like a topless bar across the street, stop reading now.)
Here’s where the deed restrictions come in. The association – that’s you – CAN enforce some community standard on every member of the community, through effective enforcement of the restrictive covenants, or deed restrictions.
If you get a letter from our management company, then that means that they have identified some violation on your property, and are asking that you get it resolved.
The most common violations are pretty easily resolved. Mowing your lawn; edging along the driveway or the curb line; storing your garbage cans out of sight – those kinds of things. And we do ask that you don’t store a boat or other recreational vehicle in your driveway, or within view of the street.
There are others, more difficult to resolve. Things such as structures that are too tall – a shed, for example – that will have to be removed; or a sub-standard roof. Those require pretty extreme measures to resolve, and usually involve a lot of money. The best way to avoid this situation is to contact the management company before beginning any architectural activity. They can guide you on the correct materials and process.
The second reason that the board enforces deed restrictions is because it’s our job. As the governing board for the association, one of our primary fiduciary duties is to maintain and improve the assets of the community. The biggest job we have along those lines is maintenance of the common areas – the pool, the park and the entrances. But ensuring the stability of community property values doesn’t stop at the common areas.
The biggest reason that communities like ours adopt Deed Restrictions is to protect the value of the property within the community. You may think that boats, garbage cans, broken fence pickets, and the like are nit-picky, but study after study has shown that aggressive enforcement of these things helps maintain – and in most cases, increase – the property values. And since our homes are often our single largest investments, we know that most of us want to see that investment protected.
Thanks for your time and enjoy our community.