Understanding the Deed Restrictions


Because Houston doesn’t have residential zoning ordinances, actively enforced deed restrictions are the best tool the homeowner has to protect the value of their property and to ensure the quality of life in their neighborhood.  The Maplewood Civic Club’s Architectural Committee (AC) is responsible for enforcing our deed restrictions.

What are deed restrictions?

In legal terminology, they are covenants that run with the land.  They control the number, type, architectural style, placement and use of all structures on all lots in Maplewood.  The developers restricted each of the thirteen subdivisions of Maplewood to ensure that they would always be residential.  All subsequent owners and residents are legally bound by the restrictions.

Why have deed restrictions?

They are not designed to be oppressive.  They are simply rules intended to enhance your enjoyment of your property and to protect its value.  And they are a reasonable set of guidelines to promote good relations between neighbors living side by side in Maplewood.

What are some of the restrictions?

In 1976, the Maplewood Civic Club sponsored uniform amendments of the restrictions.  The AC was reorganized under the umbrella of the Maplewood Civic Club. In 2002, the Club sponsored new amendments to promote better property and building maintenance. Two-story construction was introduced.

Improvements:

  • Before making major structural changes or rebuilding your house, garage or outbuildings, you must get written approval from the AC.  Fill out the AC’s construction plan submission form; submit a plot survey, plans and specifications to the AC before applying for city construction permits.  City permits require your signature stating that you have checked the deed restrictions and complied with the requirement of written approval.  Failure to get the approval voids the city permits.  Be sure to plan ahead.  The AC may take up to thirty days to respond.

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  • One single-family dwelling of at least 51% brick, masonry or stone exterior, not more than two stories high, is allowed. One detached garage, not more than two stories, for not more than three cars or one attached garage, no higher than the main residence, for not more than three cars, is required.  Any lot with a dwelling must also have a garage.  One outbuilding no higher than eight feet is allowed unless screened from public view by a solid fence or other screening.

  • All improvements must be within the setback lines as platted: 25' from the front lot line (45' from the curb), 5' from an inside or rear lot line (except for a detached garage or other outbuilding located 70' or more from the front lot line) and 10' from a side street line (25' from the curb).

  • No improvements other than fences may be built in the easements.

  •  Fences may not be built forward of the front of the house.  Sight lines at street corners must not be obstructed by fences, trees or otherwise.

  • The only signs permitted are "for sale" or "for rent" signs, a single security sign, political endorsement signs, temporary construction signs and garage sale signs.
  • Property use:

  • Maplewood lots are restricted to single-family residential use.  Businesses are prohibited.  Any commercial or professional use, trade, noxious or offensive activity is prohibited.  This includes selling cars, trucks, boats, trailers, etc. as a business activity.

  • Vehicles partly dismantled, unserviceable, unlicensed or uninspected and stored for more than ten days in a month in public view are prohibited.  Motor homes, boats or trailers stored for more than ten days in a month in public view are prohibited.  Parking vehicles and trailers on the grass is prohibited.

  • Keeping animals other than household pets not bred for commercial purposes is prohibited.
  • What about trash and the grass?

    Grass must be regularly cut and sidewalk, drive and street curbs edged.  Weeds growing faster than the grass must be kept cut irrespective of grass height during the entire year.  Dead trees and landscaping must be removed.  Trash may not be put out earlier than allowed buy the city for curbside pickup.  Trash may not be stored in public view.  Trash, trash cans and recycling containers may not be stored in front of the residence or the garage. Trash cans may be kept on the side of the house.

    Where can a resident get a copy of the deed restrictions?

    The restrictions are on file at the County Clerk’s office by Maplewood section.  The section number is on your deed, your tax bill or at the Harris County Assessor’s Internet site at www.HCAD.org.  You can also contact the AC or browse at www.MaplewoodCivicClub.org

    How are the deed restrictions enforced?

    Usually, a resident calls or writes a member of the AC to complain about suspected violations.  An AC member will investigate the complaint and may send a notification of possible violations to the resident or the property owner.  If the problem is not resolved, the AC makes formal notice by certified letter and makes an effort to talk to the resident about the problem.  Beyond that, the AC may take legal action.  Voluntary compliance, though, is the easiest and most friendly way to correct violations.

    Regardless of AC attempts to enforce the deed restrictions, any property owner can take legal action against another property owner to compel compliance.

    You can call on any member of the AC to report a violation, ask for an explanation of a notice of a violation, or to discuss any matter pertaining to the deed restrictions.

    This is a general overview of the deed restrictions and is furnished for informational purposes only. You should obtain a copy of the deed restrictions to address specific questions.

    Architectural Committee Members:

    Robert Baumgartner, 713-541-9545
    Tim Hughes, 713-664-8455
    John Donovan, 713-839-8555
    Sean Sachtleben, 713-256-4035
    Glenn Wallin, 713-838-7179

    Maplewood Civic Club

    Architectural Committee

    PMB 280, 5300 N. Braeswood Blvd. #4

    Houston, Texas 77096-3307