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Deed Restriction

  1. Clauses or restrictive covenants, placed in a deed when land is transferred, limiting the future uses of the property. Deed restrictions may impose a vast variety of limitations and conditions. For example, they may limit the density of buildings, dictate the types of structures that can be erected or prevent buildings from being used for specific purposes or even from being used at all. Deed restrictions differ greatly from and are usually a poor substitute for conservation easements in protecting land for public benefit. (However, they can be quite satisfactory for use by adjacent private landowners where the one property is to benefit by the restrictions on the neighboring property.) Typically in deed restrictions, no third party is granted the right to monitor and enforce the restrictions placed on the land and other safeguards are missing to ensure that the restrictions are respected. History demonstrates that deed restrictions often fail because those in support of continuing the restriction do not have legal standing to seek enforcement of the restrictions in court. History shows numerous examples of municipalities, churches, universities, hospitals and other nonprofits lacking a substantial conservation purpose getting deed restrictions lifted by a judge so that they can sell or develop a conservation-restricted property.