A recent lawsuit was filed against recorders in all 88 Ohio counties to require the removal of racist language from recorded documents. Discriminatory restrictive covenants can found in deeds and governing documents pre-dating the Fair Housing Act of 1968. These restrictions prohibit certain ethnic or religious groups from purchasing property.
For example, some community associations governing documents contain provisions that explicitly state that the right to use or occupy a home is “forever limited to persons of the Caucasian Race only.” More frequently, governing documents including Declarations, Bylaws, deeds, and rules violate Fair Housing laws by prohibiting children even though an association is not officially a 55 and over community. This type of restriction is considered familial status discrimination and also violates the Fair Housing laws.
To avoid costly litigation, such as the lawsuit now filed against the Ohio county recorders, we strongly recommend that associations with discriminatory restrictions in their governing documents immediately remove such language by amending their Declaration, Bylaws, deed, or rules to eliminate all discriminatory language.
More information on the recent lawsuit against the Ohio county recorders can be found in the following Columbus Dispatch article: http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2016/07/25/attorney-seeks-redaction-of-racist-statements-real-estate-documents.html#.
Please contact our office if you would like more information on amending your association governing documents to comply with the Fair Housing laws.