Addressing Illegal Covenants in Historic Land Records

Documents in the land records provide public notice of property ownership and indicate when real estate is subject to a mortgage, judgment, or other encumbrance. These public records are accessed, reviewed, and used in every real estate transaction, including refinancing of home loans. A property’s chain of title includes transfers of ownership and contains other important records impacting the property. Removal of documents or pertinent information from the land records creates breaks in the chain of title, which can result in ownership disputes, a loss of property rights or an inability to buy, sell, or refinance property.

The American Land Title Association (ALTA) is strongly opposed to any form of housing discrimination and is committed to proactively working toward solutions that protect the property rights of all homebuyers.

ALTA’s Discriminatory Covenants Workgroup developed this publication that details the various approaches to addressing discriminatory covenants in the public land records. The document also highlights the pros and cons of each method.