Unfortunately, you can still find shocking examples of racism in recorded real property restrictions, including condominium master deeds or subdivision declarations. A restriction might state that only “members of the white race” may own property in the development, for example. While they were likely recorded many years ago and are no longer enforceable under current fair housing laws, it is still alarming to see these provisions in print.
Newly introduced Michigan legislation, HB 4676, would supply boards of directors and individual members of community associations with a simple mechanism to officially delete these provisions from their documents. Either a majority of the board could resolve to do so, or any individual member of the association could request that the board do so, and the board would then be required to delete the provision by recording an amendment in accordance with the legislation. A vote of all owners would not be required.
While the legislation was inspired by a need to address historical racism, the protections extend to other groups as well, applying to any provision that “directly or indirectly prohibits or limits the conveyance, encumbrance, rental, occupancy, or use of real property on the basis of race, sex, national origin, familial status, sexual orientation, or gender identity, or on the basis of an individual having a sensory, mental, or physical disability or using a trained dog guide or service animal because the individual is blind or deaf or has a physical disability.” And the legislation expressly states that any such provision is unenforceable if already existing and shall not be recorded going forward.