Charlottesville Restrictive Covenant Attorneys

Restrictive Covenant Disputes

Charlottesville Restrictive Covenant AttorneysIf you are considering purchasing property as commercial or residential use, it is imperative that you meet with Charlottesville Restrictive Covenant Attorneys at MartinWren, P.C. about restrictive covenants. It is crucial that potential buyers are aware of restrictions and the obligations associated with the property. Restrictive covenants in real estate have an important impact on how a property can be used and its value. However, these restrictions are commonly ignored or not taken into consideration until the end of a due diligence period prior to purchasing a property. Through the purchase, you are responsible for not violating these restrictions and what the consequences may be if you can’t comply.

Contractual Arrangements and Litigation

Restrictive covenants are contractual arrangements, typically in real estate deeds or leases, which limit the permissible or acceptable use of a property.  Given that such covenants impair a property owner’s right to use and enjoy their property as they see fit, it should come as no surprise that restrictive covenant disputes often lead to protracted litigation.  Disputes involving restrictive covenants usually arise when parties fail or refuse to follow the terms established by the covenants, or when a party seeks to use their property in a manner that conflicts with the terms of a restrictive covenant.

Created as Real Estate Subdivision

Restrictive Covenant Attorneys in Charlottesville, VA can tell you more about how and why restrictive covenants are created. The terms listed in a covenant are commonly imposed as part of a real estate subdivision to ensure that each subdivided parcel is subject to a uniform set of rules.  In the event the rules are not followed, the restrictive covenants may allow neighboring property owners, who have similar covenants in their deeds, to legally enforce the terms of the covenant. Such restrictive covenants are routinely used in subdivisions and residential developments, where real estate developers impose restrictive covenants on the land to ensure the development has certain uses, rules and regulations, and common features.

How Restrictive Covenants Impact Purchasers

In recent years, you may have read in newspapers about owners associations who enforce restrictive covenants. Lawmakers have tried to get legislation passed that reel back how much power owners associations have. Despite this issue and the attempt to raise more awareness, purchasers of property may still not place sufficient importance on how these restrictive covenants can impact their future. These covenants can cause a problem later on when the purchaser realizes they are not able to enjoy their property in the way they had wanted.

Do Not Violate a Restrictive Covenant

Examples of fairly common restrictive covenants include provisions that restrict construction to single-family dwellings with no detached outbuildings, or restrictions that specify that any dwelling be constructed of certain materials.  Other restrictive covenants may specify a certain architectural style, minimum square footage for dwellings, the number or type of animals that may be kept on the property, or the appearance of dwellings. Certain deed restrictions may also require a particular standard of maintenance, prohibit on-street parking, and restrict the posting of signs.

If a property owner violates a restrictive covenant, another person who is to benefit from the restrictive covenant, usually an adjoining property owner, may pursue legal action to enforce the restrictions. If you are in such a predicament, we suggest contacting Charlottesville, VA Restrictive Covenant Attorneys promptly for help.

Seek Legal Counsel for Advice

Because of the many pitfalls that might accompany living on property encumbered by restrictive covenants, it is prudent for prospective homeowners or land purchasers to investigate for any potential restrictions and familiarize themselves with any covenants that may apply.  A restrictive covenant can often contain specialized legal terms or legal language, so it is wise to seek the counsel of a member of our legal team to thoroughly review any applicable covenants or restrictions.

It may be the case that you have violated restrictive covenants without even realizing that your property is burdened by them. Or, you may believe that the restrictive covenants encumbering your property are unreasonable in scope, degree, and duration.  Virginia law does impose limits on the types and degrees of restrictive covenants that can lawfully exist, so, if you are in a dispute about restrictive covenants, you may have available options and defenses available such as challenging the validity or enforceability of the restrictive covenant in question.

How Property Value and Use Can Be Affected

If you are a potential property buyer, we recommend talking with Charlottesville Restrictive Covenant Attorney in VA at MartinWren, P.C. before sealing the deal. We can ensure that you are aware of and understand how restrictive covenants can change the value of your property. Covenants for real estate may be categorized as either restrictive, or protective and restrictive. There are two common intentions of covenants: 1) restricted use of property and 2) obligations imposed on new owner of property. Restrictive limit the free use of the property land.

And while it isn’t possible to provide an entire list of all forms of restrictions that can be included in a covenant, here are some of the most frequently seen in both commercial and residential property:

  • Restriction of Use: restrictive covenants prevent the property owner from being able to use the property in certain ways. For example, those who want to purchase a house may want to know if the use has to be solely residential or if they are permitted to run a business out of the home too.
  • Architectural Review: properties that are subject to an architectural review, may have to be approved ahead of time through an architectural review committee. These committees are often created and managed by the property developer. After the developer has sold most or the entirety of property in the development, this committee is then controlled by a board of directions in an owners association.
  • Restrictions of Lease: restrictive covenants may prohibit ways that the property can be leased. For instance, a property may not be leased to someone for terms shorter than six months. Buyers who want to purchase a commercial property with intent to lease to tenants, may come to find out this is not permitted at all.

If you have a question about a deed restriction or if you are involved in a restrictive covenant dispute and are seeking experienced counsel, contact VA Restrictive Covenant Attorneys in Charlottesville at MartinWren, P.C. at 434-817-3100 and ask for John B. Simpson or Robert E. Byrne, Jr.

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