Can covenants be sort of "forgotten about" and have no enforceability?
Can I just do the exterior work I want to and not worry about
"someone" coming after me for doing so?
This is possible but risky. If you build a fence and no one does anything about it within the statute of limitations for doing so (sometimes codified with "...
If you can’t get permission, you don’t have permission
The covenant benefits the land, not any particular owner or any other interested party (in general, they can, of course, be worded the other way). The death or dissolution of someone involved in the covenant doesn’t change the covenant. See Hawthorn Road Pty Ltd v Krystyna Duszniak & Ors; ...