Richwood Place, A Post about Deed Restrictions

According to the City of Houston Planning Department, our neighborhood was originally platted in 1924. At that time, and as the neighborhood developed, there were deed restrictions encumbering  most, if not all of the properties that had an improvement, i.e. a single family home built. There have been many changes since that time. Most notably, the vast majority of the original deed restrictions lapsed according to their terms.  Recently, in the early 90s, neighbors and particularly the Civic Association began working to again form deed restrictions that would apply to the properties within our boundaries indefinitely and ultimately preserve the residential character of the neighborhood. They did this under Chapter 201 of the Texas Property Code. http://www.houstontx.gov/planning/Neighborhood/docs_pdfs/Chapter201Chart.pdf

Because this process allowed property owners to exclude their properties from the restrictions, we do have a handful of properties within our neighborhood that are not deed restricted. We have entire blocks that are 100% deed restricted and other blocks that have 2 or 3 excluded properties. One of our goals as a Civic Association outlined in our bylaws is to encourage property owners to sign on to the deed restrictions, which offers certainty and security to themselves, future owners and neighbors. If you are concerned about an activity that may violate deed restrictions, do not hesitate to contact the deed restriction committee chair, Brian Kilpatrick (brianbkil@gmail.com) or the President of the Civic Association, Rebekah Maddux El-Hakam (elrebekah@gmail.com).

As a side note, the majority of our neighborhood now has both the minimum lot size protection and the minimum building line protection through the Houston Planning Department. This sets a standard for the entire block for twenty years concerning what can be developed and where. Properties on blocks that have been approved for this ordinance are not able to opt out of this protection. Our deed restrictions do not allow for structures of any kind, including fences, to be built closer than 20 feet from the front property line. However, a property that is not deed restricted, but is subject to a 20 foot setback by the Minimum Building Line Ordinance can build a fence as long as it does not require a permit (currently, permits are required for fences 8 feet tall or taller or built with masonry) Again, please let Brian or Rebekah know if you have any questions specifically about deed restrictions or any other neighborhood concerns.

August 2009 deed restriction enforcement on Portsmouth

As promised, I’ve written a post about the deed restriction enforcement regarding a new fence on the 1800 block of Portsmouth.  I realize this is a sensitive topic, with strong opinions on both sides of the argument, so I’d like to simply present the information here for those interested.  Please also understand this matter is still being pursued, so it may not be appropriate for me to share details without the consent of the homeowner.  If you have more questions, feel free to email me directly.

As you are probably aware, properties in Richwood Place are deed restricted.  It is the responsibility of the Richwood Place Civic Association to enforce deed restrictions on behalf of the residents.   

In August 2009, the Richwood Place Civic Association and the City of Houston found that a new fence constructed on the 1800 block of Portsmouth violated the Richwood Place deed restrictions (specifically, Article III, subsection 9 of the Declaration of Restricted Covenants) because it was built less than 20 feet from the front of the property line.  A letter was sent to the homeowner noting the violation and requesting the property comply with the deed restrictions.   The Civic Assocation received a letter from the resident’s attorney in September 2009.  Eventually, a suit will be filed on behalf of the Civic Association to resolve the issue and that’s where it stands.  This item is discussed in more detail our regular meetings.  Members and residents that would like to join the discussion should attend the next meeting (scheduled for Tuesday, May 11, 2010)

Copies of our deed restrictions are given to owners at the time of purchase.  I have also included them on the About Richwood Place page of the this website.  If you have questions about your property, visit the City of Houston Deed Restriction information website, contact the Office of the City Attorney’s Deed Restriction Enforcement Team’ s Deed Restriction Hotline at 832-393-6333,  or contact the City Services Help Line at 311.

I’d like to close this post by letting you know my philosophy for posting to this site; I’m only going to pass along information.  Rarely, if ever, will I include my own personal bias. The web site and blog are intended to to pass along content I feel will interest you.  And again, please feel free to comment here or email me directly with questions or concerns.