Welcome to Friday, let’s sweep this week! I sure enjoyed watching the star-studded All In Washington: A Concert for COVID-19 Relief – it gave me a real sense of pride in seeing the sights & sounds of our state and people coming together for GOOD. I sure look forward to future days when we can roam a bit more freely and carefree within our state. Until then, I’ll continue to do my part in redesigning what summer will and can look like with health & safety top of mind for everyone around me. If you missed the concert, I noticed it is hosted on Amazon – here. Rumor has it, the event raised $48 million for Coronavirus relief! Way to go Washington! [Seattle Times write up here]
On the flip side, there was a topic this week in our local footprint I wasn’t so proud of…to discover truly how far and wide racial restrictions can be found within our neighborhoods – namely, within CC&Rs. To dig deeper, I asked Michelle Barry to be a guest blog writer today and break this down into digestible bites for us.
Thank you Michelle for your willingness to pen this!
“While some are surprised to hear this, many neighborhoods in the Puget Sound Region had racial restrictions in their covenants back in the day. Any CC&Rs that were written before the Fair Housing Act of the late 1960s potentially contain information that is appalling to us today.
While this has been true for a long time, and the enforcement of those covenants has been illegal for a long time, the current climate has brought the topic to the forefront.
So, what’s an appalled homeowner to do if they realize they are living in a neighborhood with this information on their CC&Rs?
This is a confusing topic, but I’ll do my best to clarify.
Some of what you’ll read says that the restrictions are “in your deed.” This isn’t really quite right….the language is in the CC&Rs which ultimately are part of your rights and responsibilities as an owner, but you very rarely see them on any deed created past the late 1960s.
We (CW Title) redact the offensive language in our master files. That does NOT change them at the county, it only means we do our best to not re-distribute this awful language in our title reports.
The only way to change the covenants at the county level is for the homeowners in the neighborhood covered by those covenants to vote to change them, hire an attorney to re-write them, have everyone sign it, and record it. They can also do a termination of the old covenants so those aren’t shown on future title reports. That rarely happens.
That’s why the State Legislature came up with a process for an individual owner to “renounce” (I guess the is the best word) the old covenants as it relates to their own property. The form is DIY, and they’ve created a no-cost way to get that recorded. Here’s a link to that process. https://depts.washington.edu/civilr/covenants_law.htm
Another page of that website lists all of the areas with racial restrictions, so if a homeowner doesn’t remember what was in their title report when they purchased (hard to believe!), they can check this reference: https://depts.washington.edu/civilr/covenants.htm
If a homeowner wants to pursue this, they’ll need their legal description, parcel ID and other info. If you send us their address we can send that info to you and you can forward to them along with the link above.”
…and back to good news, no racial restrictions to be found on my home. That said, plenty in my neighborhood and the surroundings. Grateful to have this information to share with others as my learning must go beyond my home.
And as we wrap this week and look at Seattle showing off today with her almost 80 degrees, know that these chairs sit in my front yard to continue conversations that should be had outside of Zoom. While I haven’t officially broken up with Zoom – I am shifting towards discovering what our work together can be like – in person – during these summer months. You are welcome to join me for conversation.
People first. Business second.
All in, for us.
Laura Smith | Windermere Real Estate Co.
owner | designated broker