I have been asked by Enchanted Oaks owners to review the Covenants and subsequent filings that are a part of the three subdivisions Section 1, Section 2 and Section 3. For your own review below are the links to each:
DEFINITION of Running With the Land. The expression "running with the land" refers to the rights and covenants in a real estate deed that remain with the land, regardless of ownership. When rights and covenants run with the land, they are tied to the property (land) and not to the owner.
Each of the three covenants has similar language regarding the condition of the property. Each clearly addresses: 1) debris and trash, 2) outbuildings, 3) temporary buildings such as RV's, trailers, campers, etc. & 4) animals. Each of the three clearly state that these covenants run with the land. This means that they are in full force and all lots are subject to them.
When an owner fails to abide by the covenants, any single owner can bring an action "by proceedings at law or in equity against any person or persons violating or attempting to violate any covenants either to restrain violations or to recover damages. This type of action is generally a Petition filed in a district court for injunctive relief and specific performance. Most importantly, the losing party pays legal fees and court costs. For your review, below is a link to the statute that applies:
Covenants are put in place to protect property values and to provide for each owner the right to enjoy their property without being disturbed by those that fail to abide by the covenants. Actions brought against owners who fail to clean up their property generally prevail, with all costs going against the offending owner which becomes a judgment lien.
A judgment lien is a court ruling that gives a creditor the right to take possession of a debtor's real property if the debtor fails to fulfill his or her contractual obligations.
I can find no evidence that there is a homeowners' association. There was an attempt a few years back to form one, but it was very poorly written and did not receive the requisite number of required owners signatures to be legally binding. Below is a link to these documents as filed:
Also, Section 2 has an "Agreement" drafted and filed that is included with the Covenants language that is also invalid for the same reason.
Some interesting items in the Covenants - Section 1 originally only allowed houses, but it is likely that a court would rule that the owners have acquiesced to trailers. Each of the covenants speaks to having approval from the developer as to the mobile home you were about to move in, this is likely impossible to do and thus might also be something a court would not uphold. Long story short, there are some aspects of the Covenants that a court may not uphold, but I could say with some certainty that a court would uphold issues regarding debris, safety issues, setbacks, outbuildings, or any other violation that would impact the property value of another, as this causes harm and a loss of value to real property and courts tend to take a harder line on these types of violations.
So what is the best practice when addressing violations. First, I always recommend that parties speak to one another. Contact the owner and ask them to clean up their property or to cease violating the covenants. If they refuse to do so, or simply ignore your request send a certified letter demanding the same thing. If at this point they still fail to comply, you know you have an owner who is not interested in working with you. Your next step would be to file the action I mentioned earlier, (Petition for injunctive relief and specific performance), and seek to obtain a judgment, costs, and legal fees.
You can name multiple parties in one action, (lawsuit), which saves time and money. But again, I caution anyone to talk first to the neighbor before moving forward with such an action. With that being said, your home is one of your greatest assets and those that fail to abide by covenants are costing you property value.
Additionally, vacant and dilapidated property attract vagrants, drug use, wild animals, and a host of other concerns that owners should not have to tolerate simply because an owner fails to abide by covenants.
I hope this has been of some help.