Friday, June 24, 2022

Own or purchasing a property with racially restrictive covenants? Apply for a Restrictive Covenant Modification...

If you are buying a home and review the Preliminary Title Report, you may notice a new disclosure from your title/escrow company that accompanies the section of the report that covers the Covenants Conditions & Restrictions (aka, CC&Rs -- which are essentially the developer-imposed rules that govern a community). This disclosure was born from California Assembly Bill 1466 (McCarty) which created a process to provide home buyers information to proactively remove racially restrictive covenants at the time of purchase. This disclosure will be required starting July 1, 2022.

Sadly, the CC&Rs for many properties built in and around Sacramento County that were developed prior to the civil rights movement contain racially restrictive covenants. I sell several homes per year where the CC&Rs contain these covenants. I come across some really repugnant restrictions that were intended to permanently racially segregate neighborhoods. And I think most home buyers and homeowners are unaware these covenants exist.

Have you ever seen a racially restrictive covenant? They are horrifying. 

A couple years ago I was interviewed by Capital Public Radio about racially restrictive covenants. Here’s a snapshot of the CC&Rs of a property I sold that was built in 1944. “...but such property shall be restricted to persons of the Caucasian race forever.”

These CC&Rs are now legally null and void, however these records stay with the property even though they are unenforceable. Counties have an application process to remove racially restrictive covenants. Most home buyers and homeowners are unaware of this process, and I hope that this new legislation helps create awareness. Here are links to local county websites to their applications and more information:

If you are interested in the history of racially restrictive covenants, books like The Color of Law provide an overview. 

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