What to Do if Your Neighbor is Violating Deed Restrictions and Your Homeowners Assoc. Does Nothing
A Deed Restriction is a contract and subject to the law of contractsDeed Restrictions, also known as restrictive covenants, in property deeds are treated as if they were a contract between the buyer, the seller, and whomever else the covenant may concern. As a result, they are subject to the same sorts of rules governing contracts. Therefore, any person entitled to benefit under a restrictive covenant is entitled to sue to enforce it.
Typically speaking, most subdivisions have the same sorts of restrictive covenants placed on each individual lot within it. This is typically done according to a common plan for each lot on behalf of the owner. When an owner or developer puts together a common plan such as this, it is assumed that the restrictive covenants involved are for the benefit of each individual lot owner. As a result, each individual lot owner has the right to sue other lot owners to enforce the common deed restriction.
Most Deed Restrictions pass from previous owner to new owners.Most deed restrictions run with the land. What that means is that the restriction typically concerns something regarding use of the land or something on it like a house, or is explicitly stated in the deed that it "runs with the land." In terms of subdivisions, most deed restrictions "run with the land" when they apply to all lots within the subdivision. In practical terms, that means anyone who takes possession of the land from the owner who was originally bound by the covenant is also bound by the covenant. This type of person is called a "successor in interest." The developer is typically the first person bound by the deed restriction, since they are usually the ones to come up with such restrictions in the first place. Therefore, when a restriction "runs with the land" a developer's "successor in interest" is also bound by the covenant.
Homeowner's Associations are bound by the deed restrictionsThe typical development in Texas is for the developer to turn over his interests in the property to a Home Owners Association after a certain amount of the lots within the subdivision have been sold off. This would mean that your typical Home Owner's Association becomes a developers "successor in interest." As a result, Home Owners Associations are typically bound by restrictive covenants, the same as any individual resident, and are usually the ones in charge of enforcing them per the covenant itself. Therefore, an individual can sue a Home Owners Association if it is in violation of a restrictive covenant.