New Law Officially Voids Racist Land Deed Covenants

August 3, 2021

Passed unanimously by the legislature, House Bill 6665 prohibits restrictive deed covenants based on race and allows property owners to have such language removed from land records in this state.

Some land records dating back to the early to mid-19th century in Connecticut contain racist covenants such as "whites only" restrictions, and many residents have been shocked to discover such provisions still exist on their property deeds. Although such covenants are unconstitutional, the legislature officially moved to void the language in state statute and provide a process for people to have it removed from their land records.

As reported by UConn Today in an article about a Manchester man's shock and advocacy for the new law which took effect retroactively July 1, the law "declares any racially restrictive covenant attached to land records on property in the state to be void. It further allows a property owner who discovers that their land records contain a racially restrictive covenant to file a formal affidavit or other document, to be recorded into the land records by the town clerk, to identify the offensive covenant and show that it is void."

Writing on the same issue, The Associated Press reported that "ten states this year have passed or are considering bills concerning restrictive covenants based upon race or religion, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Besides Connecticut, the list includes California, Indiana, Ohio, Utah, Washington, Colorado, Nebraska, New York and North Carolina. In 2020, three states - Maryland, New Jersey and Virginia - passed legislation concerning covenants."