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Does a property plat enforce covenants? The plat itself says it is subject to the covenants on file.

Jefferson, GA |

If the property plat is subject to the covenants and a builder must follow the plat on record; seemingly the Planning and Development office would be able (even required) to enforce that the covenants be followed. We are being told it is a civil matter to force a builder to follow covenants. Verbose: Five years ago I purchased a home in a new subdivision, then came the market crash and the subdivision failed with only two homes built. Now there is a new subdivision owner and he is not following the covenants that are properly recored with the county and recored with our home purchase five years ago. Can this new owner just discard and ignore the covenants? Does the planning office get to say it is just a civil matter and not enforce what is recoreded on the plat?

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Attorney answers 2


It would not be the responsibility of the planning office to enforce the covenants even if noted on the plat. The planning department would be concerned if there were violations of the developer's agreement with the jurisdiction (roadway contruction, turn lanes, etc). So you will need to consider civil action. In general the covenants that were in place before the original developer failed should still be in place but there may be issues regarding a successor developer. You will very likely need the assistance of a real estate attorney to review the old covenants and your current situation and then discuss your concerns and a strategy toward resolution.

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Mr. Veler is correct. If the new developer by an assignment of rights (if allowed in the covenants) is now the "Decalrant" he/it may have the right to make unilateral changes in the covenants, though there may be a requirement that any parties affected by the changes consent in writing, and the new document (and the assignment) would need to be filed in the Superior Court records where the property is located. The developer may not have made formal changes, and may not have filed anything (and may not have the right to do so). But if developer has the right, and still owns most of the lots, he/it could probably make such changes. You need to see what the covenants say about assigning rights, see if it was done correctly, or speak to an attorney who knows how to find out this information for you and can pursue the matter in court if needed. You may be entitled to damages if you purchased under the belief that there'd be a certain scheme in the community, such as house style and size, and you have been damaged because of the changes.

This is not intended to be legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. If more information is needed, you should consult with an attorney in your state regarding the specifics of your situation and the options available to you.