Strict rules of Canterbury's subdivisions

Want to paint your house purple, own three cats and fix up a vintage car?

You may not be welcome in many of Canterbury's subdivisions, where uniformity trumps creativity in the lifestyle stakes.

Covenants for up-market developments that have sprung up in the region range from the logical (no livestock) to the outrageous (no moving shrubs without permission).

Developers put covenants in place to protect the market and aesthetic value of the lots, as well as the privacy and peace.

However, some people have found them to be too rigid.

The Press viewed a number of covenants for numerous subdivisions and found common themes included the use of particular building materials and colours, keeping washing out of view and not owning certain breeds of dogs.

In Northside Country, Waikuku, no-one may own a full or cross-bred pitbull terrier, rottweiler, doberman pinscher, Japanese akita, Japanese tosa, dogo argentino or Brazilian filat.

Do not even think about setting up a moto-cross track.

In Pegasus Town, relocatable homes are not an option and any unregistered or unwarranted cars are forbidden, unless hidden in a fully-enclosed garage.

Residents should also keep on top of the weeds, grass should not grow longer than 15 centimetres and no strange noises or smells are allowed.

In fact, do not do anything that could be perceived an annoyance, its covenant says.

At Rosemerryn, Lincoln, residents need the vendor's written consent to remove or relocate any fence, tree or shrub.

Over at Te Whariki, also in Lincoln, the letterbox must be new and match the fence or house. In Linden Grove, Middleton, all exterior colours must be pre-approved, with New Zealand Heritage or provincial colours highly encouraged. Any brightly painted ornaments should be out of the view of the footpath or road.

At Marble Court in Northwood, caravans, campervans and huts are banned, unless well out of sight. Livestock, poultry, reptiles and pigeons are expressly prohibited.

"This subdivision is for people motivated by high standards," its covenant says.

Many covenants also forbid challenging the rules or inciting others to do so.

Some Canterbury residents have also complained on blogs about rules banning cars more than three years old and no shirtless gardening - though The Press did not find those in covenants it viewed this week.

Others were unhappy about having only one choice of internet provider.

Independent Property Managers Association president Martin Evans said while some subdivisions did have a suburban America feel to them, "the people living in them, they love it".

Rentals that came up in subdivisions like Northwood went the fastest in the city.

There was a new market of people looking at subdivisions, including property developers and people paid out for earthquake damage.

Though some covenants went "right down to the wire" with restrictions, he did not think they would put people off.

Rather, they could be a factor years down the track, say, if a couple had children who wanted a dog. Covenants existed to keep the areas looking smart, he said.

Property law expert Lindsay Lloyd said the covenants were legally-binding documents.

Some put the onus on neighbours but if it was up to the developer it could get tricky if they had since gone out of business, he said.


Pegasus Town

No roof, wall or exterior materials or colours not approved by Pegasus Town. No lot owner shall oppose, object to, frustrate, or take any action, or encourage or cause others to oppose, object to, frustrate or take any action that might in any way prevent or hinder Pegasus Town from progressing.

Construction of any landscape features on any lot shall not be commenced until the plans and specifications have been approved by Pegasus Town.

Up to two dogs, two cats, or other common domesticated household pets that are not dangerous or annoying may be raised and kept.

The lot owner must not allow any offensive activity (includes excessive noise or offensive smells) to be conducted that may be or may become an annoyance or private or public nuisance.

Marble Court, Northwood

No parking of caravans or campervans visible from the street.

Rosemerryn, Lincoln

No removing or relocating any fence, tree or shrub without the vendor's written consent.

Northside Country, Waikuku

No breed or part-breed pitbull terriers, rottweiler, doberman pinschers, Japanese akitas, Japanese tosas, dogo argentinos, Brazilian filats.

Te Whariki, Lincoln Must build a new letterbox of a design, colour and cladding consistent with the dwelling or fences, or as approved by the grantee.

Linden Grove, Middleton

A full exterior colour scheme is required at the time of plan approval and New Zealand Heritage or provincial colours and materials are highly encouraged.

Shall not place any brightly painted ornaments on the land which are reasonably visible from the footpath or road.

The Press