Can deed restrictions be placed on property that conflicts with current zoning laws?

Asked May 9, 2017, 11:23 AM EDT

Can property owners put deed restrictions on their homes that would conflict with the a city's current zoning laws?

For example, a town has rezoned an area of single-family homes for multi-family use only. Can these property owners agree to put deed restrictions on their property that limits use to single-family only? If one of these owners sold their property, what could the new owner do with the property? Could he build a multi-family unit, despite the deed restriction? Could he build a new single-family house despite the multi-family zoning law?

Oakland County Michigan

1 Response

There are instances of deed restrictions that conflict with local zoning regulations. It is not unheard of. Applicable local zoning regulations are still enforced even when a deed restriction exists. But it's important to note that local zoning is usually less restrictive than deed restrictions. If there is a conflict, the stricter provision is to be followed. This is because deed restrictions are contractual and are enforced by the developer, homeowners association or owners of the property who are bound by the deed. If the deed restricts a property to single family, then that property must adhere to that restriction. I recommend that you consult with a lawyer who is well-versed in real estate before you begin a process to change your deed restriction.