Covenants are often lumped together under the collective term of “covenants, conditions, and restrictions” or CC&Rs, a term commonly found in real estate documents. Since most covenants involve some kind of condition or restriction placed upon the buyer, the collective term “CC&Rs” has been more widely used in recent years to indicate the existence or future existence of limitations associated with the use of the purchased land.
Many home buyers are so charmed by the appearance of a house for sale that they fail to take the time to read the CC&Rs that come with the property. They are so pleased with a nice kitchen or a fenced-in back yard that they sign a purchase agreement without realizing that existing CC&Rs may prevent them from keeping their boat or truck on the property, or erecting a basketball hoop in the driveway. Often, title companies will not have copies of the CC&Rs affecting the property until the day of closing, and they are often overlooked at that point. However, CC&Rs are binding upon the purchaser, and the purchaser will become subject to them, whether or not they have been reviewed, read, or understood. The general rule of “constructive notice” applies in these cases. No real estate contract should be signed until a purchaser has reviewed all the CC&Rs (and zoning laws) affecting the property.