dirty deeds (done dirt cheap) part II

Devon brought up deed restrictions and chickens the other day. It occurred to me that although we have posted about deed restrictions before, we haven't posted about the restrictions on our current lot. So even though it feels restricting, let's get on with it!

Early in our design phase the architect asked to see the (dirty) deeds. These (dirty) deed restrictions were put in place by the original developers (there was a tree full of 'em) of Green Acres. Here are the restrictions, filed with the County of Travis on February 21, 1952:

(a) No structure shall be erected on any residential building plot other than one detached single-family dwelling not to exceed two stories in height and a one or two-car garage. Servants quarters attached or unattached are permitted.

(b) No building on any residential building plot shall be nearer than 25 feet to nor farther than 35 feet from the front lot line, nor nearer than 5 feet to any side lot line. The side line restriction shall not apply to a garage located on the rear one-quarter of a lot, except that on corner lots no structure shall be permitted nearer than 12 feet to the side street line. There must be a total of 15 feet of side yard for each residence erected.

(c) No residential lot shall be subdivided into building plots having less than 6000 square feet of area or a width of less than 50 feet each, nor shall any building be erected on any residential building plot having an area of less than 6000 square feet or a frontage of less than 50 feet.

(d) No trailer, basement, tent, shack, garage, barn, or other outbuilding erected on the tract shall at any time be used as a residence temporarily or permanently, nor shall any residence of a temporary character be permitted.

(e) No noxious or offensive trade shall be carried on upon any lot nor shall anything be done thereon which may be or become an annoyance or nuisance to the neighborhood. 

(f) No structure shall be moved onto any lot.

(g) No one-story dwelling costing less than $4000.00, and no two-story dwelling costing less than $6000.00, shall be erected on any lot in the tract, and the ground floor square foot area thereof shall not be less than 1000 square feet in the case of a one-story structure nor less than 700 square feet in the case of a one-and-a-half or two-story structure, except that an attached garage and a covered porch to the structure, may be counted as one-half of their square feet.

(h) A perpetual easement is reserved over the rear five feet of each lot for utility installation and maintenance.

(i) These covenants and restrictions are to run with the land and shall be binding on all parties and all persons claiming under them forever.

(j) If the parties hereto, or any of them, or their heirs or assigns, shall at any time violate or attempt to violate any of the covenants or restrictions herein, it shall be lawful for any person or persons owning any other lots in said development or subdivision to prosecute any proceedings at law or in equity against the person or persons violating or attempting to violate any such covenant or restrictions and either to prevent him or them from doing so or to recover damages or other dues for such violation.

(k) Invalidation of any of these covenants by judgment or court order shall in no way affect any of the other provisions which shall remain in full force and effect.

(l) Absolutely, positively no bunnies.

Whew! Nothing about chickens! Or bees! Or (large sigh of relief) maggots (cough, cough: excuse me:) worms! And we were losing sleep over where to put the servants, but it appears we are covered there as well! But no bunnies?!!?!? (Actually, I made that one up: we can have bunnies, too!)

Although the (dirty) deed says we can put the garage right on the lot line if it's in the rear quarter of the lot, the city would have something to say about that. And so it goes: city regulations trump deed restrictions, state regulations trump city regulations, and federal regulations trump state regulations.


  1. That was a fun read. Thanks for sharing.

    Do you see an inconsistency between the provision regarding unattached servants quarters in (a) and the prohibition on outbuildings being used as a residence in (d)?

    Not to impugn your helpful little garden friends, but (e) seems like it could incorporate a lot. There's probably case law establishing what kinds of livestockery uses do and don't constitute annoyances or nuisances.

    VERY excited to see your construction get underway!

  2. Shoot, (e) could apply to me! Here's to hoping case law allows me to stay!

    Yes, there seems to be a contradiction there. Perhaps our help can stay in an outbuilding, but we need to stay in an inbuilding.

  3. The contradiction between only one single family dwelling vs. attached or unattached servant's quarters is confusing. How do servant's quarters differ from a dwelling? No plumbing? No kitchen?

    1. Good point. The older homes with servant quarters that I've seen (and not in this neighborhood) that are attached tend to have a bathroom but no kitchen. Seems if the quarters were unattached there would be a kitchen.