If pig farming is your life’s aspiration…
You’ll want to ensure the property you are about to purchase is not subject to restrictions that prohibit such use. Even on agricultural land, restrictions may apply.
There are a couple of ways to determine if the property you love is subject to Conditions, Covenants, and Restrictions (CCRs). Sellers are supposed to disclose if their property is subject to any type of use restrictions so it should be included right in the listing information.
Most REALTORS® keep information about major developments handy. There are, however, some areas and circumstances under which a seller or their agent may not be aware that the property is subject to CCRs. This is especially true if only a few lots are affected and a formal association does not exist.
CCRs should be noted on the Preliminary Title Report. The title report will contain a document number associated with the recorded CCRs. With this, a copy can be requested. A recent preliminary title report will have a hyperlink to the CCRs.
CCRs are generally meant to protect property values.
They are normally enforced thru the powers granted to a formal association. Most associations can collect established fees, authorize repairs and maintenance, administer community facilities and make decisions for the affected homeowners.
Associations (including condo associations) normally have the authority to file liens and foreclose properties whose owners do not pay the required fees. Less clear is how violations of CCRs can be addressed if there is no formal association. For instance, there are CCRs associated with the 8-10 home subdivision where we live but we do not have a formal association to enforce the restrictions.
If, as an example, one of our CCRs prohibited us from having small, yappy dogs, in order for our neighbors to enforce this hypothetical provision, they’d likely have to hire an attorney. If we refuse to comply after being asked, formal legal action would be the next step. Enforcing CCRs without an organized association and established procedures for compliance is difficult and less likely to occur. It doesn’t, however, mean it never happens.
Interestingly, neither the County Planning Department nor the Building Division checks plans against recorded CCRs. They are also not charged with enforcement. Only you know your intended use. Be sure you ask because you know what they say about assuming.
Check your preliminary title report or call the association. Most formal associations are happy to field any questions you have. After all, they are always recruiting new volunteers.