Can you stop your neighbor or a builder from building an inferior home???

Q:       Help!  How do I stop someone from building an ugly home in my neighborhood?

A:        Every homeowner should be concerned about the vacant lots in their subdivision.  When the real estate market crashed in 2008, many subdivisions were only partially sold leaving a glut of empty and undeveloped lots in the lurch.  If you are not careful, someone who buys a vacant lot or group of vacant lots can negatively impact your property value by building “sore-thumb” homes that are inferior in quality, appearance or size to the rest of the neighborhood.  New builders often think they can build whatever they want, and they will if you let them.  But, with a little knowledge and some effort, you may stop them in their tracks.

You are in the best position to protect yourself if new construction has not yet started on those new homes.  If your subdivision is part of a homeowners association, you are most likely subject to a declaration of covenants, conditions and restrictions.  The declaration may control or regulate construction on undeveloped lots.  An attorney experienced with homeowner association law can examine those documents quickly to determine whether they can be used to stop the offending builder or regulate construction of the new homes.  If there is no recorded declaration or if a recorded declaration inadequately protects you, then documents can be drafted or amendments filed that require new owners to build a home that fits into your neighborhood.

On the other hand, if construction on that inferior home has already started, you should contact an experienced real estate attorney immediately so that you can take steps to encourage that builder to build a home that does not hurt the rest of the neighborhood.  In fact, any delay will be used against you when take your dispute to a judge.  Your attorney will guide you through your options, which include entering into a voluntary agreement, enforcing covenants if they apply, or seeking an emergency order from a court halting construction until the dispute can be resolved.

So, before you pull your hair out and start a modern-day Hatfield and McCoy feud with a new neighbor over an inferior home, now is the time to take the steps to protect yourself.  After all, why should you and your neighbors let some new builder destroy your hard earned home value?