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Deed Restricted Property Laws

By Mary Lamphere

Purchasing a deed restricted property requires due diligence on the part of the purchaser to ensure that the purchase is safe and that the property can in fact be used for the intent on which the purchaser has decided upon to purchase the property. Deed restrictions are typically a permanent part of the property and cannot be changed. Though some do expire, many deed restrictions run in perpetuity and will continue to carry over from one property owner to the next indefinitely.

It's important to understand that deed restrictions do not override zoning laws. What this means is that if you purchase a deed restricted property that is zoned for mixed use, but the deed restriction says that the property is only for personal use and may not have any business use then you will not be able to run a business out of the property. Regardless of what the zoning law is, the deed restriction that stipulates that the property may not be used for business will override any zoning laws that are in place.

The law does permit that certain restrictions can be imposed on the use of land in a deed restricted community. Often times, a HOA will be the entity in charge of following up and making sure that the residents do not impose on these restrictions. Particular restrictions that are allowed include:

  • restrictions on the types of buildings allowed in a particular area
  • restrictions on how far a home or addition to a home must be from the road
  • restrictions on the types of use such as business use or industrial use at the property
  • restrictions on the number or type of pets which can live at a property
  • restrictions on color, landscaping, fencing, and other outdoor structures or elements of a property

While there are many potential restrictions which can be imposed on a deed restricted property in Illinois, there are certain restrictions that are illegal and which will not hold up in court. These restrictions include:

  • any restriction that is a violation of civil rights
  • any restriction that is a discriminatory of a particular race
  • restrictions that are against the law

Who Can Deed Restrictions Be Enforced Against?

Where deed restriction laws are in force, they may be enforced to the grantee or the heirs of a property. Any individual who is aware of a deed restriction or whom owns the property in which a deed restriction is on record can be held accountable to uphold to the laws and restrictions that are in place. A purchaser, successor or anyone getting an estate property will be responsible to uphold to the restrictions that are imposed and on record unless the deed restriction is one which expires with the transfer or sale of a property or is otherwise set to expire in a said amount of time.

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