What is your state? Indiana (Apologies in advance for length, and TIA for advice.)
For those who don’t want to read everything, this all boils down to one question: Can covenants and restrictions be changed by the developer if the homeowners do not agree?
In 1998, we purchased one of the first lots in a rural subdivision, made up of 15 lots. We were given a declaration of covenants, restrictions, and easements (covering all the lots) at the time, which our lawyer reviewed. I went to the court house, and have found that these C&Rs are still in effect with no changes, at least for my lot. The document says that the C&Rs run with the land and can only be changed with unanimous consent of all concerned. We’ve never agreed (or been asked to agree) with any changes. I plan to go to the CH again to see if the C&Rs have been recorded with changes for any of the other lots. If it matters, the developer we bought from sold the unsold lots to a different developer in 2001.
The restrictions include land use (residential use only), roof pitch (4/12 minimum), home size, (1200 sq ft) and no significant erosion allowed. The exact language about structures states: “Only permanent residential structures suitable for year-round living with electrical service and in-door plumbing, together with suitable out buildings ancillary to permanent residential structures.” “No tents, trailers, shacks, or campers shall be permitted on any of the premises, except for trailers or temporary structures located on a lot during construction of a permanent dwelling, up to a maximum total period of six months.”
Some people just bought a lot, and have permission from the developer to install a geodesic dome house. I think it’s a cool idea, but two of the lot owners don’t want it here. I can’t really blame them, since it’s not a 4/12 pitch, and will be “different”. On another lot, people (and lots of their friends) have been camping for a couple weeks, and have established ATV trails. There’s a lot of noise, and the trails are causing erosion of their land. They are not in the process of building anything yet, other than dirt trails and bad neighborhood relations.
I have reviewed the plat book at the CH, and have found that 6 of the lots, including the two above, are still held in the name of the developer, although we’ve been told that these lots are sold. We’re assuming they’ve been sold on contract.
So, how do we enforce these restrictions and are they enforceable? I’m tired of the sounds of 15-20 ATV’s racing at all hours of the day and night. We’re having a meeting to which everyone is invited tomorrow night. Watch for fireworks coming from the Midwest!