Deed Restrictions Can Prohibit Large Dogs

Question: When we bought our Gilbert home last year, we received the Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (“CC&Rs”) from the HOA. Probably like most home buyers, however, we didn’t carefully read the fifty or so pages of CC&Rs. We are now being fined by the HOA because we have two large German Shepherds, and the CC&Rs prohibit pets that weigh more than forty pounds. We think that the real reason that we are being fined by the HOA is that one of our German Shepherds growled at a little boy two months ago. Other than selling our home, or farming out our two German Shepherds to our son who lives in Surprise, is there anything that we can do?

Answer: Probably not. CC&Rs (or deed restrictions) can be recorded between just two homes, or between hundreds of homes in a master-planned community like McCormick Ranch in Scottsdale. Although time-consuming, any homeowner who buys a home with CC&Rs must read the CC&Rs carefully.

Note: CC&Rs have to be legal to be enforceable. A CC&R cannot violate federal or state laws such as the Fair Housing Act. For example, a prestigious Phoenix community in the 1950s had CC&Rs that prohibited “any Chinese or Mexicans after 5:00 p.m.” If ever enforceable, this deed restriction is not enforceable today.

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