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Restrictive Covenants Questionnaire

For most people, a home is the biggest purchase of their lives. Before you make that investment, make sure you know the parameters of any restrictive covenants to your new property. A restrictive covenant is an agreement, usually set forth in the deed, that limits how you can and can't use your property.

  • Are you restricted in the types of materials you may use to build a fence, chimney, addition, outbuilding, or roof? 
  • What color are you allowed to paint your house? 
  • Is day care allowed on the premises? Are there restrictions about swing sets or other children's play equipment?
  • Must you submit building plans to your municipality or development association for approval before you build? 
  • Is there a height limitation imposed on your property in order to protect your neighbors' view? 
  • Are you prohibited from storing "junk" in your yard? What is the definition of "junk"? 
  • Do you need a permit before you add-on or re-roof? 
  • Are you allowed to have a clothesline? 
  • Is there a restriction regarding installation of air conditioning units? 
  • If you want to install a pool, are you allowed to choose to put it above-ground or in-ground? If it is above-ground pool, are you required to surround it with a certain type of fence? 
  • Are you allowed to dig a well for irrigation purposes? 
  • Are you responsible for controlling weeds, mowing your lawn, and landscaping according to certain standards?
  • How many cats or dogs is too many? Are you allowed to keep pets other than cats and dogs? 
  • Is your home office allowed? Are there restrictions about the kind of home-based business you may have? 
  • When is a property considered "blighted"? 
  • Are you prohibited from erecting signs in your yard, or are signs allowed within certain size and subject restrictions? 
  • Is there a prohibition against storing motor vehicles on your property? 
  • Is there a restriction governing antennas and satellite dishes? 
  • Does a covenant restrict your right to cut down trees in your yard? 
  • Is there a start-to-finish limit on the length of time of your construction project? 
  • What restrictions are there, if any, on prefabricated, modular, motor, mobile, or manufactured housing? 
  • What kind of outside window treatments are permitted or prohibited? 
  • Are there any utility or maintenance assessments charged to your property? 
  • What does your deed say about driveways, garages, and parking spaces?

If you have any other questions about restrictive covenants or related topics, consider speaking with a real estate attorney in your area.

Next Steps
Contact a qualified real estate attorney to help you
navigate issues relating to home ownership.
(e.g., Chicago, IL or 60611)

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