Almost every builder, developer, neighborhood/homeowner association have CC&Rs or rather “covenants, conditions and restrictions”. These are limitations and rules placed on a group of condos, town homes, and homes. about.com says all condos and town homes have CC&Rs; however, so do most planned unit developments and established neighborhoods.
It’s a good idea to do your homework and read up on CC&Rs before buying because there are some that have restrictions that are against the law and are unenforceable. Normally, these unlawful restrictions involve race. The old CC&Rs going back before the 1960s prohibited the selling of property to anyone who’s not “white.” Believe it or not, these offensive documents still exist but can’t be enforced, thank goodness, due to state and federal laws. There are many efforts underway across the country to physically remove these documents and rewrite them.
But there are plenty of unusual restrictions in the CC&Rs that are within the law that you may not like. Some neighborhoods have restrictions on what color you can paint your house. about.com gives an example of a Huntington Beach, CA neighborhood where CC&Rs require every house be painted white. Again, this is within the law. CC&Rs can restrict you from doing almost anything as long as it’s agreed upon with the group writing them and the restrictions don’t violate any laws.
Other CC&R restrictions include building and space limitations. These are more common and might explain how close a structure may be built to the property lines and might also include the minimum and maximum space a structure is allowed to occupy.
But there are also CC&Rs that list prohibited non-residential uses, pet restrictions, fence height limitations, and maintenance of yards.
about.com says to always read CC&Rs before buying a home and ask for a copy.