One Step Closer: Washington State Bill Removing Discriminatory Covenants from Title Passed and Waits for Inslee’s Signature
As explained in a previous blog post, Washington State’s Legislature and Judiciary have been grappling with how to remove the monuments of racial territoriality from your title. Washington’s Legislature took a positive step forward by bringing House Bill 1335, which allows for redaction of discriminatory language from property title and the public record, to the finish line.
The Legislature – House Bill 1335
When our previous blog post was published, the Washington State Senate was contemplating 2021 Washington State House Bill 1335 in committee. Since then, the Senate passed the Bill and the House concurred with the Senate’s amendments. House Bill 1335 is now on Governor Jay Inslee’s desk—waiting for his signature.
Once signed and implemented, the Bill amends RCW 64.06.020 (the seller disclosure statement statute) and RCW 49.60.227 (the restrictive covenant statute) and adds new sections to Chapter 49.60 RCW (the Human Rights Commission’s Discrimination chapter). As previously discussed, one of the amendments to RCW 49.60.227 would give property owners, occupants, tenants, and HOAs the right to have discriminatory language physically redacted from title and the public record. This particular amendment is a major win for Alex May, as it addresses his main issue in the May v. Spokane County case.
The Judiciary – May v. Spokane County
A Petition for Review was filed on March 25, in the May v. Spokane County case. There, Division III of the Washington State Court of Appeals ruled that “striking” racially discriminatory restrictive covenants, as permitted under RCW 49.60.227, did not allow a property owner to redact racist language/covenants from the public record.
At this point, it is unclear whether Mr. May will continue to appeal under the current statutory framework, or if this case will dissolve if/when the new legislation launches.
We anticipate Governor Inslee will sign the Bill and will see whether and how the May v. Spokane County appeal proceeds. We will continue to track this issue and provide additional updates.
Meanwhile, if you have any questions about your title, racial covenants, and/or how to strike racially discriminatory covenants, please contact an attorney in our real estate practice group, including Karly Clendenen (firstname.lastname@example.org).