July 26, 2023 - The Uniform Law Commission (ULC) has approved a new uniform state law that will allow a property owner whose deed contains an unlawful and unenforceable restriction to record an amendment to the land records that effectively removes the restriction. The Uniform Unlawful Restrictions in Land Records Act was approved by the ULC today at its 132nd Annual Meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii.
An unlawful and unenforceable restriction (often referred to as a discriminatory restrictive covenant) is a restriction inserted into a deed that was intended to prevent the affected property from being sold to or occupied by persons covered by that restriction. Throughout the first half of the 20th century, owners and developers of real property commonly inserted restrictive covenants into deeds and declarations.
Many antiquated and objectionable unlawful restrictions still exist, though they are no longer enforceable. The presence of these unlawful and unenforceable restrictions in the chain of title does not have title consequences for an owner of land in an objective sense. Nevertheless, such restrictions remain in the chain of record title to millions of parcels of land, and the continued presence of those restrictions are open to public view and potentially open to disclosure and publication each and every time that someone searches title to one of those parcels.
Under the Uniform Unlawful Restrictions in Land Records Act, individuals who own property, including owners in common interest ownership properties, that is subject to a prohibited restriction are empowered to record an amendment to the governing instruments that removes the restriction. With an amendment to the land record, the historical land record is not altered. To remove an unlawful and unenforceable restriction under this Act is to amend a record chain of title, not to disturb or destroy a historical record.
The Act also includes an optional form that may be used by most owners to remove an unlawful and unenforceable restriction by amendment in the land records.
This Act does not affect the legality of these discriminatory restrictions. It is existing federal and state law, and not this Act, that makes discriminatory restrictions in land records unlawful. Yet, this Act accomplishes a separate legal effect by allowing property owners to remove mention of these unlawful and unenforceable restrictions from their chain of title going forward. The Uniform Unlawful Restrictions in Land Records Act creates a path forward for property owners who want to correct the record on the often painful history of their homes.
Further information on the Uniform Unlawful Restrictions in Land Records Act can be found at the ULC’s website at www.uniformlaws.org.
About the Uniform Law CommissionThe ULC, now in its 132nd year, comprises more than 400 practicing lawyers, governmental lawyers, judges, law professors, and lawyer-legislators from every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Commissioners are appointed by their states to draft and promote enactment of uniform laws that are designed to solve problems common to all the states.
After receiving the ULC’s seal of approval, a uniform act is officially promulgated for consideration by the states, and legislatures are urged to adopt it. Since its inception in 1892, the ULC has been responsible for more than 200 acts, among them such bulwarks of state statutory law as the Uniform Commercial Code, the Uniform Probate Code, the Uniform Partnership Act, and the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act.
Uniform Law Commission / 111 N. Wabash Ave., Suite 1010, Chicago IL 60602312/450-6600 / www.uniformlaws.org
Barry Hawkins, Co-Chair, Drafting Committee on Uniform Unlawful Restrictions in Land Records Act, bhawkins@...
Katie Robinson, ULC Senior Director, Strategy & Communications, krobinson@...
------------------------------Katie RobinsonSenior Director for Strategy and CommunicationsChicago IL------------------------------
Uniform Law Commission 111 N. Wabash Avenue, Suite 1010 Chicago, Illinois 60602
Uniform Law Commission The Uniform Law Commission (ULC, also known as the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws), established in 1892, provides states with non-partisan, well-conceived and well-drafted legislation that brings clarity and stability to critical areas of state statutory law.