Posted by: Patricia Salkin | November 11, 2010

Nevada Supreme Court Upholds Restrictive Covenant Prohibiting Horses on Certain Property Where the Zoning Would Have Allowed Such Use

The Supreme Court of Nevada held that the district court did not err when it concluded that appellants’ property was classified under the Covenants Conditions & Restrictions (CC&R) as property prohibited from housing horses and issued a permanent injunction enjoining appellants from keeping horses on their property. In their ruling, the court found that the appellants, despite their contention that the CC & Rs are ambiguous as to the classification of their property, still failed to raise any genuine issue with regard to the material fact that the designation of their property on the map that they relied on in the district court most closely corresponded to the designation of the class of property in the CC & Rs prohibited from housing horses. 

The dissent, on the other hand, cites hornbook law which says that “Covenants and agreements restricting the free use of property are not favored by the law and will be strictly construed against limitations upon such use.” Here, the dissent argues, Quinn was the proponent of a restrictive covenant forbidding the Maples from keeping horses on their land, despite its permissive zoning. Quinn therefore had the burden of proving both the no-horse restriction and that it applied to the Maples’ land and the fact that Quinn proceeded by summary judgment rather than trial did not change the burden of proof. Further, the Maples made the point that the zoning permitted horses and, without more, the zoning should carry the day. The dissent found that this argument is correct and that Quinn’s motion for summary judgment did not establish more than that the Maples lot might or might not be subject to a restrictive covenant forbidding them from keeping horses. 

Maples v. Quinn, 2010 WL 3911386 (Nev. (unpub.) 10/4/2010)

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