Restrictive Covenant Modifications

Shelly Scott, Assessor - Recorder - County Clerk

California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act of 1959, The California Fair Housing Act of 1964 (Rumford Act), and the federal Fair Housing Act of 1968  all prohibit housing discrimination based on such things as race, color, religion, national original, and familial status.

Despite current federal and state laws, some subdivisions throughout the nation, state, and County of Marin that were developed prior to the passage of fair housing laws have covenants on record that contain restrictions that were outlawed by 1960s legislation. California law authorizes any person who has an ownership interest in real property that is subject to racially or otherwise unlawfully restrictive covenants the right to record a Restrictive Covenant Modification. The process is outlined in Government Code Section 12956.2.

How do I find a copy of my Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC & Rs)?

The easiest way to learn more about the Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC & Rs) or other documents that affect your property is to review the title report you received when you purchased your property. The title company that completed the title search likely provided you with a complete copy of the CC & Rs.  If your title report mentions recorded CC & Rs but you were not provided with a copy of them, you may view the recorded document in the Recorder’s Office located at the Marin County Civic Center in Room 232 during business hours of 8 a.m. until 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. You may purchase a copy of the restrictions while you’re in the office if needed. Alternately, you may order a copy of them from the Recorder’s website here.

If you cannot find a reference for CC & Rs mentioned in your title report, you may review the legal description for your property to locate a reference to a recorded map, which may provide you with a recording reference. For more information about searching recorded CC & Rs and other documents that may contain restrictions, click Searching for Restrictions.

What can I do if I discover I have racially, or otherwise unlawful restrictions recorded on my property?

As prescribed by Government Code 12956.2, you may record a Restrictive Covenant Modification. Based on guidance from the California Recorders’ Association, recording requirements can be found here. You will note that requirements include attaching a full copy of the restrictions with the unlawful portions stricken. The submitter (property owner) must sign the document in front of a notary public. The completed document should be submitted to the Recorder’s office, who will refer the document to Marin County Counsel staff for approval prior to recording.  After approval by County Counsel, the document will be recorded for no fee and returned to the submitter within a few weeks.

What can I do if I have more questions about the process?

If you have additional questions about recording a Restrictive Covenant Modification, contact the Marin County Recorder’s Office by e-mail, or call (415) 473-6093 during business hours (Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.). Please note that Marin County Recorder’s Office staff is forbidden by California legal codes to practice law or provide legal advice. This prohibition includes giving advice about how to complete a form for recording. Although Recorder’s staff can help you begin your search, due to staffing constraints, they are unable to perform the search for you.