In the early part of the 20th century, discriminatory covenants barring the sale or lease of property based on race, ethnicity or religion were inserted in some property records as part of deeds, plats and covenants, conditions, and restrictions. Two decades after the landmark US Supreme Court case Shelley v. Kraemer established racially restrictive covenants were unenforceable under the 14th Amendment, the federal Fair Housing Act of 1968 made discriminatory covenants illegal and unenforceable.

Previously, there was no current model law or uniform legislative approach to address previously recorded discriminatory covenants that still exist in public land records, which resulted in state lawmakers considering one or more legislative approaches to address illegal and unenforceable discriminatory covenants in public land records. As of late 2023, the Uniform Law Commission has finalized a model approach to address this issue. Please find the act under state legislative tools below.

ALTA Position

ALTA is strongly opposed to any form of housing discrimination and is committed to proactively working toward solutions that protect the property rights of all homeowners.

Federal Legislation

ALTA has endorsed federal legislation introduced by Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) to fund the research and study of discriminatory covenants in land records.

Senate Bill 2549 - Mapping Housing Discrimination Act

State Legislative Tools

Discriminatory Covenants Articles

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