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When a person sells land next to them, can they impose covenants and restrictions on the people they sell to? Just one house?

Gig Harbor, WA |

My husband and I bought property in Gig Harbor, Washington in 2001. My husband is now showing me CC&Rs that we signed. I thought it was a normal association for the entire neighborhood. But now I found out that it's just us! There are no dues but they are trying to tell us the size of house we can build. In the neighborhood there are all sizes of homes. Even shacks.

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Attorney answers 3


Covenants have to benefit and burden the properties under the common scheme. Therefore, under the facts you present something doesn't seem correct. If you are held to a standard then you should be able to hold the others under the scheme to the same standards. If only you are part of the scheme , who will enforce against you . The seller has no interest as they have sold. Take the documents to a real estate lawyer near you and find out how enforceable the restrictions really are against you.
Good Luck

Only If and until you and I sign an Agreement for Legal Services, I am not your attorney. These answers are provided for informational and/or novelty purposes


I don't practice in your state, and in theory agree with the other response, but there are situaitons when covenants can apply to a single lot or property and work between those two neighbors. Were these covenants filed with the public records? They may just be a personal contract between you and the seller who happens to own the property next door. Either way, you really do need to consult with an attorney knowledgeable with real estate law and provide all teh available documentaiton so you can hear wheat your options are.

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.


The general answer is yes, an owner of real estate can put recorded restrictions on the property before they sell. I take it that the sellers live next door and wanted some control over what was built on the vacant lot that they sold. If the restrictions are so severe as to make the lot almost worthless ( I doubt it) they may not be enforceable. You should be able to determine exactly the size of house and the location of the house on the lot from the CCRs, without any input from the sellers. If not, then maybe the language is too vague to be enforced. Spend $500 and get a real estate lawyer to review what is recorded that affects your development rights.