Striking Restrictive Racial Language from Your Title

Restrictive racial covenants—which excluded people of color from purchasing, leasing, or occupying homes in certain neighborhoods, developments, or regions—have been deeply embedded in the practices of the housing industry since the early 20th century. Although the Supreme Court ruled that municipally mandated racial zoning was unconstitutional with 1917’s Buchanan v. Warley, this decision extended only to government action such as city ordinances, and not to private agreements such as restrictive covenants.

This left the door open for discrimination in real estate to continue. The Supreme Court’s 1926 ruling in Corrigan v. Buckley validated the use of racially restrictive covenants, and they quickly became common practice. Shortly thereafter, these restrictions were endorsed by federal housing administrators and lenders alike, creating a system that shaped communities and segregated neighborhoods throughout the country.

In 1948, with Shelley v. Kraemer, the United States Supreme Court ruled that these racial deed restrictions were no longer enforceable. But the structures of segregation remained intact and real estate brokers, agents, and property owners continued to discriminate based on race.

Congress struck a blow against these practices by passing the Fair Housing Act in 1968, which prohibited discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, or national origin in the sale or rental of housing. However, the language of restrictive racial covenants is still written in the chain of title for many homeowners nationwide.

 

Striking Restrictive Language By State

As part of our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, Windermere has prepared educational content on how homeowners can remove racially restrictive language from their chain of title. Of the ten states that Windermere operates in, there are processes in place to remove this language in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. Homeowners in Idaho will note that the process to strike restrictive language is subject to change, pending the legislature’s passing of I.C. § 55-616 in 2021. In Hawaii, Montana, and Utah, there is currently no process for the removal of discriminatory covenants from a chain of title, nor is there pending legislation to address the issue. In Hawaii and Utah, although there is legislation in place declaring such covenants void, there is nothing currently in place that permits a court or auditor to strike the restrictive language from the title.

 

To begin the process of striking the restrictive language from your title, talk to your Windermere agent today. For help getting started with an agent, we’re happy to connect you here: Connect With an Agent

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Black History Month

How Black History Month Began

 

In 1915, American historian Carter G. Woodson and minister Jesse E. Moorland founded what is now the Association for the Study of African American Life and History® (ASALH) to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of African Americans and to encourage studying the history of Black people. In 1926, the ASALH debuted what was then called “Negro History Week” to bring awareness to their mission. The event took place during the second week of February, coinciding with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln (February 12) and Frederick Douglass (February 14). It continued to grow through the decades and in 1969, Black History Month was first proposed by the Black United Students at Kent State University. Years later, in 1976, President Gerald Ford decreed Black History Month be observed nationally. Since then, every President has recognized February as Black History Month (also known as African American History Month).

 

Black History Month 2021

 

Black History Month’s first official theme was “Civilization: A World Achievement” in 1928. Since then, the annual themes reflect changes of social movements’ impact on ideas of race, how the Black community’s aspirations have evolved over time, and how those of African descent living in the United States view themselves. The theme for 2021 is “The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity.” For more information on this year’s theme, past themes, and more on Black History Month, visit asahl.org.

 

In Real Estate

 

In the real estate industry, methods of redlining and steering have historically prevented members of the Black community from building wealth through home ownership. At Windermere, we are committed to doing our part to address discrimination, racism, and inequity within our company and the real estate industry. There are a number of initiatives in place throughout the industry to support diversity and inclusion, commit to fair housing, and make home ownership fairer and more equitable than it has been in the past. For more information and resources, visit the National Association of REALTORS® Fair Housing and Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion pages.

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