Brief Fact Summary. Homeowners in a subdivision sue the developer, alleging he broke restrictive covenants.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Provisions allowing for the amendment of restrictive covenants will be allowed, as long as the amendments are reasonable so as not to destroy the general plan or scheme of the development.
The factors to consider are: (1) the character of the interest to be protected, (2) the relative adequacy to the plaintiff of injunction in comparison with other remedies, (3) the delay, if any, in bringing suit, (4) the misconduct of the plaintiff if any, (5) the interest of third persons, (6) the practicability of granting and enforcing the order or judgment, and (7) the relative hardship likely to result to the defendant if an injunction is granted and to the plaintiff if it is denied.View Full Point of Law
Issue. Can a subdivision committee make changes to restrictive covenants without the consent of landowners, if those changes are reasonable?
Held. Yes. Judgment reversed and remanded.
Provisions allowing amendment of subdivision restrictions are subject to a requirement of reasonableness. A clause in a restrictive covenant that allows a subdivision developer to make amendments to the restrictions is a valid clause as longs as it is exercised in a reasonable manner so as not to destroy the general scheme or plan of development.
Reasonableness includes a regard for the property rights of the people who bought the land in reliance on the restrictive covenants which applied at the time of their purchase.
Here, the clause in the restrictive covenants allowing for amendment is permissible. The trial court must decide if the amendments are reasonable.
Discussion. Even after real property is purchased, restrictive covenants may be changed by the seller, provided that those changes are reasonable and fit into the development scheme.