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Rep. Jarrells introduces bipartisan legislation to eliminate discriminatory restrictive covenants in housing

June 8, 2021
Dontavius L. Jarrells News

COLUMBUS – In an effort to ensure all Ohioans have a chance to live where they choose, Reps. Dontavius Jarrells (D-Columbus) and Haraz Ghanbari (R-Perrysburg) have introduced legislation that aims to further equal housing opportunities by eliminating discriminatory covenants from deeds during property transfers. 

“As members of the minority community, we understand the challenges housing discrimination poses. We believe that this legislation is a step forward to ensure that Ohio is a desirable place to live, work, and raise a family for all people,” Rep. Jarrells explained. 

Discriminatory restrictive covenants in deeds are provisions that aim to limit the transfer of property to individuals based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry or familial status. Though the Supreme Court of United States ruled in 1948 that such provisions are void, they remain in many deeds unbeknown to property owners. It has become practice for some attorneys to remove these void provisions; however, some leave them included due to fear of civil liability. 

This legislation would:

Declare discriminatory covenants void;
Provide immunity from civil liability to attorneys who remove discriminatory covenants from deeds that they are preparing for the transfer of a property;
Prohibit county recorders from refusing to record a deed pursuant to division (B) of section 317.13 of the Revised Code due to such omission.

This language has been offered as an amendment to the Senate budget proposal, and this stand-alone bill serves as a companion.

The legislation now awaits a bill number and referral to a House committee.