What is a Restrictive Covenant

When buying a home in an area with a homeowners association (HOA) like Swan Creek?  The number one rule is to read the Covenants before buying.  Insist on asking your realtor to research the question before hand and then read them fully so you understand the limitations they may pose.     Understanding restrictive covenants is essential if you’re considering buying a home with an HOA agreement.


What Is A Restrictive Covenant?

An HOA is a nonprofit organization that upholds area property values. HOAs enforce the community’s covenants and maintain common areas . An HOA might also perform maintenance and safety projects.


A restrictive covenant is an agreement you make with an HOA that limits the way you can use a property. Restrictive covenants are general rules that members of your HOA vote on that all homeowners living in the area must follow. A restrictive covenant may include things that you can’t do with your property, like raise livestock. A restrictive covenant will also include things that you must do, like mow your lawn regularly.


The specific restrictive covenants you need to follow will vary depending on where you live. Some HOA communities have many restrictions, some have only a few and others have none at all. You can read about a development’s restrictive covenants in a document called the “covenants, conditions and restrictions,” or “CC&R” for short. Restrictions can change if your HOA votes to add or remove a rule.


What happens when you don’t follow the covenants? HOA bylaws allow the association to take a wide range of actions to correct a violation. Your HOA can fine you until you address the issue. The HOA also has the right to sue you if you don’t fix the problem or pay your fines. In some extreme cases, an HOA can even force your home into foreclosure for repeated violations. This is why it’s very important to read and understand any restrictive covenants on a home before you buy it.


There are limits on the specific restrictive covenants your HOA can place on the development. An HOA can’t fine or punish you for something that’s not addressed in the list of restrictive covenants you signed when you moved in. Your HOA also can’t engage in “selective enforcement" practices, which is fining you for something that other people who live under your HOA’s rules are doing.


Finally, while your HOA can’t place restrictive covenants that violate state or federal laws, they can still limit your rights within reason. For example, an HOA can’t ban you from displaying an American flag on your property but they can limit the size and placement of your flag.

Types Of Restrictive Covenants


Limitations On Property Usage

The most common type of restrictive covenants are limitations on what you can do with your property. These restrictions are set in place to keep homes in the development looking uniform. This uniformity can help maintain property values. Expect to see limitations on how you can use your property as well as what types of design choices are unacceptable.


Required Maintenance

In addition to rules on what you can’t do with your home, your restrictive covenants can also include things you need to do. Maintenance standards may dictate rules like how often you need to mow your lawn, repaint your home or fix a fence. Depending on your HOA and your agreement, the cost of maintenance might come out of your HOA fees.

What Is The Purpose Of Restrictive Covenants?

Restrictive covenants can offer benefits to homeowners. Restrictive covenants enforce a standard of uniformity across a development. These covenants stop your neighbors from letting their homes fall into decay and lowering your property values. Restrictive covenants also give buyers peace of mind when they purchase a home. This can make your home easier to sell later on.

Benefits Of Covenants

Let’s take a look at some of the biggest benefits of restrictive covenants.

  • Your neighborhood will maintain its look: Restrictive covenants can keep the look and feel of a neighborhood uniform. For example, your neighbor can’t decide to buy goats or chickens or leave trash on their lawn.
  • More value protection: Restrictive covenants help retain your home’s value. They can also ease some of the worries potential buyers may have about your home and allow you to sell it with less hassle later on.
  • Dispute mediation: CC&R documents clearly lay out what types of behavior are acceptable and unacceptable in your community. For example, if your neighbors decide to throw a wild party at 2 a.m., your HOA will mediate the dispute for you.


The Swan Creek HOA covenants were put in place by the developer and exist and continue today.   There is a link below to the Swan Creek Covenants.   Please send any questions you may have to info@swancreek.us

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