Court of Appeals of Texas, Second District, Fort Worth
WILLIAM T. GARRETT AND LANETTA M. GARRETT APPELLANTS
GEORGIA KAYE SYMPSON AND CLIFFORD A. HALL, SR. APPELLEES
THE 355TH DISTRICT COURT OF HOOD COUNTY TRIAL COURT NO.
WALKER, KERR, and PITTMAN, JJ.
MEMORANDUM OPINION 
an interlocutory appeal from a temporary injunction order
prohibiting Appellants William T. Garrett and Lanetta M.
Garrett from using their lake house for
"commercial/business purposes, " from renting or
leasing their lake house to multiple individuals, and from
renting their lake house to any person for "temporary or
transient purposes." The sole issue we address is
whether short-term vacation rentals violate restrictive
covenants that require the lots to be used for "single
family residence purposes" and prohibit commercial use
of the lots. Because the restrictive covenants at issue are
ambiguous and because we are required to resolve any
ambiguity against Appellees Georgia Kaye Sympson and Clifford
A. Hall Sr. and in favor of the Garretts' free and
unrestricted use of their property, we will reverse the trial
court's order granting the temporary injunction and we
will order the temporary injunction dissolved.
Factual and Procedural Background
December 2015, the Garretts purchased the lake house located
at 405 Peninsula Court in the Scenic View Estates in
Granbury, Texas ("the Property"). The Property is
governed by deed restrictions ("the Restrictions"),
which require the Property to be used for "single family
residence purposes" and prohibit the Property from being
used for commercial purposes. The Restrictions, however,
provide that for-rent "signs not exceeding five (5)
square feet in size" may be posted.
February 2016, the Garretts began advertising and renting the
Property through the website VRBO. As of November 4, 2016,
Garretts had rented the Property for approximately 100 nights
to various groups of individuals. The Garretts' practice
is to rent the entire house to one individual who is at least
twenty-five years old, and that individual is allowed to
bring other individuals to stay overnight at the Property.
The Garretts also require the individual who rents the
Property to explain his or her planned use of the Property;
the Garretts turned down rental requests that they "just
didn't feel like fit the [P]roperty as well as the
neighborhood." The Garretts expected to earn $50, 000 in
rental income from the Property during the first twelve
months it was listed on VRBO and up to $100, 000 in rental
income from the Property during the following twelve-month
seven months after the Garretts started renting the Property
on VRBO, Appellees, who own nearby property, filed suit for a
declaratory judgment and sought a temporary and permanent
injunction based on the following Restrictions:
II. USE OF LAND:
(a). No lot or plot shall ever be used for other than single
family residence purposes. No dwelling house located there-on
shall ever be used for any other than single family residence
purposes, no[r] shall any outbuilding or structure located
thereon be used in any manner other than incidental to such
family residence purposes. The erection and/or maintenance
and/or use of any lot or plot for other purposes including
but not limited to commercial or professional purposes is
hereby expressly prohibited.
. . . .
. . . .
(d) No noxious or offensive trade or activity shall be
carried on upon any lot or plot, nor shall anything be done
or placed thereon, which may be or become an annoyance or
nuisance to the neighborhood.
Appellees challenged the short-term rentals of the Property
because they "believe personally that one year should be
the minimum period of ...