Removing Racially Discriminatory Rules in Governing Documents

By Dawn Bauman
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Restrictive covenants, often contained within a deed, impose a restriction on the use of land. Typically, a homeowners association must gain a majority vote of owners to amend their particular governing documents and remove a discriminatory restrictive covenant.

CAI’s new public policy, Amendment Process to Remove Discriminatory Restrictive Covenants, allows a community association board to remove antiquated and unenforceable discriminatory restrictions contained in covenants without a vote of owners.

It can be extremely expensive and time-consuming to notify all owners in a community association about amending their governing documents and difficult to convince them that their vote is necessary. There are a number of factors that contribute to the expenses and time attached to the amendment process, including the lengthy drafting process, homeowner approval, filing requirements, and attorney’s fees.

According to Altitude Law, the entire amendment process typically takes between eight and 12 months depending on the time dedicated by the board to this process, community size, and whether the association is required to use the court petition process or certified notice to mortgagees process.

Although the Fair Housing Act of 1968 makes racially restrictive covenants unenforceable in a court of law, they are still visible within deeds that predate the law.

California, Maryland, and Missouri have laws that provide a simple process for community associations to remove discriminatory covenants. The public policy encourages states to adopt legislation allowing an association to bypass the voting requirement to remove any discriminatory and antiquated covenant restrictions.

States without a simplified process can use this as guidance to create a process that easily, efficiently, and inexpensively allows an association to remove these discriminatory covenants from their documents.

Learn more about CAI’s public policies. explores questions and comments from community association members living in condominiums, homeowners associations, and housing cooperatives. We then assemble trusted experts to provide practical solutions to your most commonly asked, timely questions. We never use real names, but we always tackle real issues. Have a question or comment about your community association? Submit here for consideration:

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Dawn Bauman

Dawn Bauman, Chief Strategy Officer. As CAI’s lead advocate for federal and state legislative and regulatory affairs, Dawn works with volunteer leaders throughout the country serving on CAI legislative action and government affairs committees to advocate for strong and sensible public policy for America’s community associations.