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Serving
Massachusetts Agencies

Restrictive Covenants

Insurance Coverage

The provisions of Title 42 of the United State Code, Section 3604 make it unlawful with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling to discriminate because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin or to make, print, or publish, or cause to be made, printed or published any notice, statement, or advertisement regarding the same. The Home Office advises that the United States Department of Justice has interpreted the statute to prohibit title companies from either providing copies of, or raising as exceptions in title commitments, preliminary reports or policies restrictive covenants which are in violation of the law.

Because of this interpretation, and due to the fact that many times such offensive and illegal discriminatory provisions are nestled in among other lawful provisions, the Home Office has directed that the following language be added at the end of all exceptions and restrictions:

. . . but deleting any covenant, condition or restriction indicating a preference, limitation or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin to the extent that such covenants, conditions or restrictions violate 42 USC 3604(c).

Although the above language would not legally be required to be included if the covenants, conditions or restrictions do not violate the statute, it would probably be a good idea to include the language as a matter of course. By doing so, you won't run the risk of either missing or mis-interpreting the restrictions.

With respect to any copies of covenants, conditions or restrictions supplied to our customers, the Home Office advises that the following language should be stamped with a rubber stamp (or by similar means) on the front page of the document(s):

Restrictions indicating a preference, limitation or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin are hereby deleted to the extent such restrictions violate 42 USC 3604(c).

For those of you responsible for disseminating information, please advise our agents of the foregoing in your respective newsletters or other communications.

Take exception for easements and (if authorized by the legal or underwriting departments) give affirmative insurance:

Easements on the property (etc.). The policy, however, insures against loss or damage arising by reason of the exercise of said easements resulting in the forced alteration, relocation or removal of structures and improvements presently located on the insured premises.

REMEMBER: This memo is not an authorization to give affirmative coverage. It is an explanation as to how that coverage is drafted, provided it has been authorized.