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Deed Restrictions

Deed restrictions are clauses in a deed to a piece property which stipulate requirements regarding the use of said property. This is often used to create a sense of uniformity by the initial housing developers. In Houston, Texas, they are to some extent used in lieu of traditional zoning laws. For instance, it is possible to restrict certain businesses, such as a corner store, from being operated in an area.

Government Involvement

The enforcement of the deed contract of course generally involves the government. In Houston, Texas, the government has a Deed Restriction Enforcement Team which takes on a more active role. This is likely because Houston does not have traditional zoning laws.

Results

One critique of Houston's model based on deed restrictions (and some top-down regulations, short of traditional zoning laws) is that it leads to ineffective planning and unequal enforcement.

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Further Reading

Libertarian economist Walter Block on deed restrictions in the context of libertarian theory