The Iowa Land Use Planning Notebook defines a Deed Restriction (Covenant) as follows:
"A private legal restriction on the use of land, attached in the deed to a property. A deed restriction is most commonly used in the establishment of a subdivision to restrict the use of all individual lots in the development to a certain type of use, e.g., single-family dwellings. Usually the community has no control over deed restrictions." (Source: Huntington, Stuart. Iowa Land Use Planning Notebook, Glossary of common planning and zoning terms. (Iowa State University Extension. Pm-1353. Reprinted March 1995.)
Deed restrictions may also restrict the type of construction materials, the minimum finished floor area, and may even require review and approval of building plans by an "architectural control committee." Deed restrictions, also called restrictive covenants, are private controls and the county has no authority to enforce such restrictions. Enforcement is therefore a civil matter between owners within the subdivision.