Settlement on Deed Restrictions Action
Garden Villas Civic Association Receives Settlement.
The GVCA Board of Directors unanimously approved the hiring of the law firm of Novelli, Harvie & Maduzia to take legal action on violations in the Garden Villas Subdivision last fall. The first lawsuit for compliance was filed in September against Garden Villas property owners for the violation of constructing a second residence on their property. Now Garden Villas Civic Association has received monetary damages and property owner agreements filed with the District Court. Mr. Harvie of the law firm was our speaker at the January civic association meeting and addressed our deed restrictions legal standing. As he noted additional cases will be filed this year. The Board of Directors has reviewed several possible cases and will continue to monitor on going investigations for legal action.
The property owner agreements filed with District Court prohibited the commercial use of the property, removed the secondary residence, and established that the garage structure could not be used as a residence. The settlement included court costs, attorney fees, and damages of several thousand dollars against the property owners.
The primary purpose of most deed restrictions is preserving the residential character of a subdivision by keeping out commercial facilities. Since we prefer to live in a wholly residential environment, deed restrictions are highly desirable and actually increase our property values. Our GV deed restrictions legally prohibit a person from operating certain types of businesses from their home.
Garden Villas has had Deed Restrictions since the founding of the neighborhood in 1926 and have been renewed every 30 years since then. The last renewal was 1999 and is current until 2029.
GVCA established a group of board members and residents called Neighborhood Standards Committee to focus and on track enforcement by providing additional information to the various City of Houston departments. In addition we provide information back to residents regarding complaints. The main objectives of Neighborhood Standards are: 1) to reduce the illegal building without permits by reporting these directly to City of Houston Public Works for enforcement, 2) refer violations of deed restrictions to City of Houston Legal Department, 3) communicate notice to realtors that Garden Villas is a Deed Restricted Community, 4) Refer possible cases for legal action.
Your GVCA Board will continue to protect the residential character of Garden Villas and promote community involvement this year.
–Tom Brents Garden Villas Civic Association President