Finding your ideal Arizona home or property can be a long process. Imagine just days before your closing date, getting a surprise: An unexpected rule exists about how you can use your property. This constraint, known as a deed restriction, places limitations on specific aspects of how an owner may use their residence, building, or land. All current and potential property owners need to know: What is a deed restriction, and how can it affect my property?
Arizona Deed Restrictions
Deed restrictions are not uncommon. They generally run with the land, meaning that once they are in place, they cannot be changed or removed by later owners. These limitations are ordinarily set by property developers to include Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&R’s). A deed restriction may be something like saying that a homeowner may only build a two-car garage on a residential plot of land, or that owners cannot have certain large vehicles parked on their lawns. The idea behind these kinds of rules is usually to protect property use and values.
The degree to which deed restrictions can impact a buyer usually depends on his or her plans for the property. If the limitations don’t impose anything unreasonable and are standard for the area, there may not be a significant issue. However, if it was essential to the buyer to be able to build a custom greenhouse that is not allowed, the deed restriction could be a major problem.
Changing Arizona Deed Restrictions
Depending on the circumstances, there may be situations where a deed restriction can be held to be invalid or even removed. In 2013, for instance, the Arizona Court of Appeals found a Flagstaff neighborhood’s application of a deed restriction prohibiting the placement of a “For Sale” sign in a resident’s yard was impermissible. However, sometimes, even years after a property has been in disrepair, and despite the owner’s request to change the restriction, the court may not always agree. Just recently, the Arizona Court of Appeals upheld a Maricopa Superior Court ruling denying the removal of a deed restriction on the former Ahwatukee Lakes executive golf course. According to a report, the business has been closed and in decay for years, and was originally restricted for use as a golf course. The original owners wanted to develop the property but failed to obtain the approval of enough area homeowners to lift the restriction.
Ideally, you will not learn of deed restrictions on the eve of closing. One way to avoid this problem is having an experienced, Arizona real estate attorney reviewing your documents during every phase of the process.
Laura B. Bramnick is an experienced Arizona real estate attorney who has the skills and expertise to advise you during all aspects of your Arizona real estate purchase. If you are seeking an exceptional, client-driven real estate lawyer in Scottsdale, Phoenix, Sedona and throughout the State of Arizona, contact Laura B. Bramnick to schedule your consultation.