What to do after deed restrictions have expired

by Lana
(Homosassa Florida)

Visitor Question: I purchased a home 2 years ago here in Florida. I was told it was deed restricted until about May of 2018. That's when through social media I found out it had expired in 2003. Now with that being said, I want to know how to take it off my deed.

Editors Reply: You don't need to do anything to remove the restriction if it has expired. When you sell the home, refinance it, or otherwise someone is looking at your ownership, the expiration automatically will come up in a search of your county's records. No action on your part will be required.

We suppose something truly oddball could happen, such as the deed restrictions themselves through the master deed requiring that you file to remove the restrictions. But we haven't ever heard of such a thing. In general, our first paragraph holds true throughout the U.S.

The only concern we have for you is that you said you learned about the expiration through social media. If it matters to you, we recommend that you take the time to verify this through asking your county clerk's office. You don't have to know how to do the records search; they will either do it for you or give you instructions and coaching as you go along. It shouldn't take too much time. Yes, it is a nuisance to go there during office hours, but truly, this is the only way to be sure.

Social media are good for many things, but actually your neighbors could be quite poorly informed. It's also possible that the person who posted this lived in a different phase of the development where restrictions actually did expire earlier, but that this earlier date would not be relevant to you.

If it doesn't really matter to you whether the deed restrictions have expired or not, meaning that you do not plan to do something that formerly was prohibited, you can just forget about it. In the natural course of things, a title company or anyone else looking at encumbrances against your property will note that the restrictions are expired through the same process that they might note that there were covenants in the first place.

In the world of home ownership and complicated real estate transactions, this is one less thing to worry about! So many people write to us desperate to remove some deed restriction that they think is too old, too unfair, or not enforceable because they see other people violating it, and we have to give them bad news. It's a pleasure to deliver good news in this instance.

Comments for What to do after deed restrictions have expired

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Bylaws change
by: Lana

Visitor Responds Again: Another question. They are asking for a vote to change two bylaws concerning voting. This happens right before the December vote on revitalizing deed restrictions. Proxy votes are allowed but I was wondering because they are allowing both general and limited proxies. To me I read limited was best for bylaws or other major votes.

Editors Reply: For our other readers, a general proxy allows a condo owner to give another person a proxy to vote on the owner's behalf on any matter that comes before a condo association meeting. A limited proxy means that the items on which the proxy holder may vote are specified in advance, and that the property owner gives his or her proxy a specific instruction on how to vote on that matter.

Yes, in Florida, when proxies are used, important matters usually can only be voted on through the limited proxy mechanism. So I am not sure why your HOA would consider that changing the voting requirements in the bylaws would not be an important matter requiring a limited proxy. But this is just an observation, as we don't have access to any primary documents and also as a matter of practice, we leave legal matters in the hands of state-licensed attorneys. We just hope that your HOA has consulted its attorney briefly about the process; it would be a shame to do it wrong and then find out in 20 years when some crucial decision is at stake.

Knowledge of deed restrictions and covenants
by: Lana

Yes the HOA and BOD are in process of trying to revitalize the CC&R. It expired due to the MRTA act. It expired in 2003. My additional question would be would it be less expensive to revitalize old cc&r or start a whole new one. They have to revitalize them from the mid 70's.

Editors Reply: OK, Lana, thanks for that additional information. It's highly probable that it would be less expensive to revive and reinstate the old restrictions than to start fresh. But only the attorney who will do the work can tell you that for sure.

If state law has changed much since the original development, it could be just as easy for an attorney to start fresh as to try to make a large number of adjustments.

If the homeowners don't have any objection to the original covenants, we suggest telling the attorney that will do the work that you prefer to keep those unless he or she sees that it will be more expensive than starting all over. In our opinion, high quality attorneys will watch out for your pocketbook, especially for an entity such as a homeowners association.

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