Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is a Restrictive Covenant?

    A covenant is a legally enforceable contract imposed upon the buyer of a property. Racially restrictive covenants refer to legal agreements that prohibit the purchase, lease, or occupation of a piece of property by a particular group of people and that prohibit the homeowner from selling or renting to anybody of a specific race or ethnic background. If your home was built between 1920–1970, your property might contain racially restrictive covenants.

  • Aren’t racially restrictive covenants unenforceable?

    In a landmark 1948 ruling, the Supreme Court deemed all racially restrictive covenants unenforceable. Titles VIII and IX of the 1968 Civil Rights Act, also known as the Fair Housing Act, prohibited discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of housing-related transactions based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, marital status, and familial status. While racially restrictive covenants are legally unenforceable today, they were prevalent and enforced for decades. Their impact remains.

  • Why is the Marin County involved?

    The Marin County Restrictive Covenant Project aims to inform and educate Marin County residents of the history and significance of government policies and programs that were intentionally discriminatory and helped create segregated communities in Marin. The use of racially restrictive covenants prohibited the purchase, lease, or occupation of a piece of property to a particular group of people, primarily Black and African Americans. Through the collaboration of the Community Development Agency, the County’s Office of Equity and the Assessor-Recorder’s Office, residents of Marin can certify and affirm that illegal and racially restrictive covenants are unconstitutional and violate current laws and County values. Residents, former residents, and families who currently or formerly lived in Marin are encouraged to share personal stories about their lived experiences beginning with the Marinship years, to help create a narrative history of our County.

  • Will there be a mapping component?

    One of the desired outcomes of this project is to use identified racially restrictive covenants to construct a redlining map for Marin County. This will empirically illustrate the enforced segregation of the past.

  • Are AB1466 and the Restrictive Covenant Project doing the same thing?

    California Governor Newsom signed AB1466 Real Property: Discriminatory Restrictions. The bill, beginning July 1, 2022, would require a title company, escrow company, real estate broker, or real estate agent that has actual knowledge of a declaration, governing document, or deed that is being directly delivered to a person who holds or is acquiring an ownership interest in property and includes a possible unlawfully restrictive covenant to notify the person of the existence of that covenant and their ability to have it modified through the restrictive covenant modification process. This legislation will be implemented over time and will aide in righting a historical wrong. The Restrictive Covenant Project’s purpose is beyond transactional. The objective is to create awareness of institutionalized racist past practices that resulted in long-lasting segregation in Marin County.

  • How can I get involved?

    There are many ways to participate with the Restrictive Covenant Project:

    1. Visit the Marin County Restrictive Covenant Project website.
    2. Submit illegal and unlawful language to the County’s Community Development Agency for review to certify such covenants cannot be enforced, are illegal, and are inconsistent with Marin County laws and values.
    3. Process modification with the County’s Recorder office.
    4. Share stories, photos, or experiences about the impact of racial covenants in Marin and how it has affected your life and the lives of those you know and love.
    5. Learn more about racially restrictive covenants and their impacts nationally and locally by checking out the Restrictive Covenants Project Library page.
    6. Stay in contact. Many additional opportunities to engage coming soon!