How do you find out if you have deed restrictions? Let’s start with a definition. A deed restriction is defined as a restriction on how you may use your property. The first place to go for this information is to the deed itself. Read your deed and you will have started the process of knowing if you have deed restrictions.
Not all deed restrictions are found in the individual deed, however. Remember, there is a chain of deeds for every owner of your property going back in time to the original U.S. government patent and the original private landowner. Any deed restriction in any deed in that chain going back in time may be a deed restriction with which you must abide.
And there’s more. Other documents in the public record may restrict your use of your property. Equitable servitudes, called CC&Rs, administered by a homeowners’ association restrict your use of your property, as do easement documents granting your neighbor a right to use your property to reach his land. Some deed restrictions, such as racial restrictions on who you may sell your property to, are void as a matter of law, but other deed restrictions, such as restrictions on the sale of alcoholic beverages put in place during prohibition, are probably still valid.
Anyone purchasing land would be well-advised to make a diligent search for restrictions that may limit their use of the land before they buy it because, once you close escrow, you are bound by those restrictions. When you enter into a purchase and sale agreement, get a preliminary title report immediately and see what documents are excluded from title coverage. In order to avoid buying a pig in a poke, be diligent, or hire a professional with expertise to research the deed restrictions. Thanks for watching.