Covenants in Common Interest Communities (Metro District)
Definition. Restrictive covenants are deed restrictions typically found in a Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions. Declarations including restrictive covenants are normally drafted and put in place by the original developer. In addition to the Declaration, the Metro District adopts Rules and Regulations and Residential Improvement Guidelines that clarify the Declaration restrictions. These documents are collectively referred to as “Governing Documents. “
When restrictive covenants are recorded in a declaration, they bind all property owners. Even though a purchaser may not read the declaration, the purchaser is bound by the covenants because they are in his “chain of title” and attach to the property. As a result, the courts will consider each owner to have “constructive knowledge” of the restrictive covenants, meaning that an owner has knowledge of the covenants as a matter of law. What this means is that actual knowledge is irrelevant, and an “I didn’t know” defense ineffective.
Purpose of Restrictive Covenants. The stated intention of many restrictive covenants is to “preserve, protect, and enhance property values.” This goal may be achieved as follows:
Architectural and maintenance restrictions give a development a more standard appearance because they control some of the activities that take place within its boundaries.
Use restrictions limit use of property for defined purposes and in accordance with defined standards. Use restrictions are generally intended to enhance the peaceful enjoyment of residents‘ use of their properties.
Types of Restrictive Covenants.
Architectural and Building Restrictions. The covenants require an owner to seek prior approval from the Metro District Board or Architectural Review Committee before making these types of changes.
Typical restrictions may include:
Set back requirements
Conditions on additions to dwellings (e.g., patios, enclosing porches, adding a second story, installing satellite dishes or solar panels)
Modifications to exterior appearance of dwellings (e.g., painting a different color, changing from siding to brick, adding windows and doors)
Exterior appearance of lots (e.g., landscaping, yard art, fencing)
Occupancy use, Leasing, Pets, Parking, Use of other limited common elements and garages (what can be stored on a patio or balcony, garage uses other than parking vehicles), Nuisance and noise, Trash, Satellite dishes, etc.…