MAR Advocates to Protect Homebuyers from Discrimination

February 1, 2022

- By The MAR Legal Team

MAR has spent much of the last year fighting to remove remnants of historic real estate discrimination. As a recent WBUR story explains, we are unfortunately still dealing with this issue in the form of so-called restrictive covenants.  

 A restrictive covenant is a provision in a real estate conveyance that limits the buyer’s use of the property. Sometimes the language in an old deed illegally limits its transfer based on certain characteristics, such as race or religion. Thankfully, these types of covenants are not enforceable and can be removed from deeds, but even seeing them can be upsetting for our members as well as parties to a transaction.    

In the summer of 2021, MAR successfully advocated in support of a new Court standing order that makes it easier to remove discriminatory restrictive covenants from real estate deeds. The Land Court implemented Standing Order 2-21 on October 1st of last year.  Read more about Standing Order 2-21 here.

In August, MAR advocated in support of H.1465, An Act providing for the expungement of racially restrictive covenants in recorded real property documents, which allows property owners to petition the Land Court to expunge restrictive covenants from documents. The bill has the support of roughly one-quarter of state lawmakers and we’re hopeful it will be issued a favorable Committee report in the coming weeks. Read the full bill here. 

MAR is proud of our work to remove restrictive covenants from real estate documents and remains committed to fighting housing discrimination and promoting Fair Housing in Massachusetts.