Confidential

What You Need to Know Before Purchasing a Florida Home with Deed Restrictions

Deed restricted communities are developments where a homeowners’ association or HOA has restrictions in place that prohibit residents from taking certain actions. Florida is home to many of these restricted communities and neighborhoods. If you’re thinking of purchasing a Florida property with deed restrictions or covenants and restrictions, talking to a real estate attorney about everything it entails can help ensure you won’t have any unpleasant surprises come closing time.   

What Are Deed Restrictions?

In real estate law, deed restrictions are defined as agreements by landowners that they will only use their property for specific purposes in a specified manner. They’re also used as deed provisions limiting and prohibiting certain property uses.

In Florida, it’s not uncommon for sellers to impose a restrictive covenant as a condition of sale, as long as they give proper notice to the buyer. What that means is a seller cannot impose deed restrictions on the home you want to buy without notifying you prior to you purchasing it.

Because deed restrictions are typically disclosed within a title commitment, any real estate purchase and sale agreement or contract should include a provision for the buyer to review the title commitment.

Living in a Deed-Restricted Community

What does living in a deed-restricted community mean? How will it affect you as a potential homeowner? These are just a couple of the questions we hear from clients who are purchasing a new home and are concerned with deed restrictions.

Deed-restricted communities typically have homeowners associations that outline and enforce neighborhood rules. The rules are designed to preserve home values by ensuring the community remains in good shape. They can regulate everything from a property’s exterior appearance to the number of pets homeowners can keep.

Other common deed restrictions you might encounter include:

  • Lawn maintenance
  • State of repair
  • Type and color of garage doors
  • Fencing
  • What the property can be used for, including home businesses
  • Whether you can rent out the property
  • Rules on using common areas

Each community has its own deed restrictions, so it’s vital to your long-term well-being to learn what they are before you buy a home.

Do Deed Restrictions Expire?

Certain states, including Florida, have adopted the 1956 Marketable Record Title Act, which says that deed restrictions expire within 30 years of inception. That means after 30 years, a homeowners’ association is technically unable to enforce the rules and can no longer collect monthly dues from community homeowners. However, Associations can take steps to “preserve” and protect covenants and restrictions from the operation of the Act.

Should You Buy a Home in a Deed-Restricted Community?

There are advantages and disadvantages to living in a deed-restricted community. As a potential homebuyer, you need to weigh the two sides carefully to determine whether it’s right for you.

If you’re buying a home in a deed-restricted neighborhood, the community-specific restrictions can impact what you can and can’t do with or to your property. While many are not issues for concerns, you might find some restrictions personally constricting, which can cause unexpected problems down the road.

For that reason, it’s always advisable to know about any restrictions on the home you’re looking to buy before you close. Because if you try to fix a problem after closing, it’s typically a more expensive and time-consuming process.

Real estate law is a complex practice. Talking with a real estate attorney before you enter into a sales contract for a deed-restricted property can be a wise decision. Munizzi Law Firm can assist you in ensuring you’re legally protected throughout the homebuying process. We’ll review any covenants prior to closing so you have a complete understanding of what you’re entering into. To learn more about deed restrictions or any other factors related to buying a home in Florida, contact us today.