Clayton A. Voss


In Trustees of Clayton Terrace Subdivision v. 6 Clayton Terrace, LLC, the Supreme Court of Missouri overturned eighty years of legal precedent regarding the ability of homeowners to amend residential subdivision agreements to place further burdens on the use of real property. The court established that subdivisions can now increase the burdens on their lot owners, provided that the minimum number of owners, as required by the amendment provision in the subdivision indentures, support the new restriction. The court’s holding signifies a shift away from the traditional principle that a covenant authorizing a requisite majority of owners to “amend” or “modify” a residential subdivision’s set of restrictions does not permit the adoption of new burdens. It thus undermines Missouri’s policy of promoting “the free use of property unless property owners have voluntarily and unambiguously surrendered their rights.” By allowing “amend” to mean “add,” the court has opened the door to homeowners’ associations imposing additional prohibitions on a lot owner’s use of property; this should be a cause for concern in a state that has staunchly protected “the free and untrammeled use of real property.

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