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RATKOVICH v. RANDELL HOMES (03/13/61)

March 13, 1961

RATKOVICH
v.
RANDELL HOMES, INC., APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 322, Jan. T., 1960, from decree of Court of Common Pleas No. 4 of Philadelphia County, March T., 1959, No. 1968, in case of Joseph Ratkovich et ux. v. Randell Homes, Inc. Decree, as modified, affirmed; reargument refused April 17, 1961.

COUNSEL

Reuben E. Cohen, with him Nathan B. Feinstein, and Cohen, Shapiro and Cohen, for appellant.

Henry T. Reath, with him John M. Ross, and Duane, Morris & Heckscher, for appellee.

Before Jones, @c.j., Bell, Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Bok and Eagen, JJ.

Author: Jones

[ 403 Pa. Page 65]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE BENJAMIN R. JONES.

The sole question presented on this appeal is whether a restrictive covenant in a deed which provides that "not more than one house exclusive of a private garage shall be erected on each lot" prohibits in any manner the erection of a duplex and/or four unit multi-family house?

Randell Homes, Inc. (Randell) owns three lots in a tract of land called Griffith Manor located on the southeast corner of Hartel and Large Streets in the northeast section of Philadelphia. Joseph and Mary Ratkovich (Ratkovich) own three adjacent lots on Hartel Street in Griffith Manor upon which they have constructed a one-story ranch type house.

Griffith Manor is comprised of some 751 lots. In 1925, a deed restriction was created on all the lots, the pertinent provisions of which state: "... that not more than one house exclusive of a private garage shall be erected upon any one lot... and no house erected shall cost less than $3000 to build and the front line of each home to be built is to set back at least eight feet from the front building line."

Randell began the construction*fn1 of two buildings (duplex) each containing two apartments and one building containing four apartments.

On April 16, 1959, Ratkovich filed a complaint in equity in the Court of Common Pleas No. 4 of Philadelphia County against Randell.*fn2 This complaint alleged "that the erection of such buildings" was in

[ 403 Pa. Page 66]

    violation of the "building restrictions" and prayed that Randell be ordered to "discontinue and cease the erection of buildings for occupancy by more than one family" and for "such further ...


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