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Civil Rights and Labor History Consortium / University of Washington

HB 1335 - The Law and Background

House Bill 1335 AN ACT Relating to review and property owner notification of recorded documents with unlawful racial restrictions (signed May 12, 2021)

Introduced by State Representative Javier Valdez and signed by Governor Inslee on May 12, 2021, this bill expanded the implementation of HB 2514 which had previously established procedures for striking illegal deed restrictions by filing Restrictive Covenant Modifications. "It is the intent of the legislature that the owner, occupant, or tenant or homeowners' association board of the property which is subject to an unlawful deed restriction or covenant pursuant to RCW 49.60.224 is entitled to have discriminatory covenants and restrictions that are contrary to public policy struck from their chain of title."

HB 1335 allocated funds and authorized teams at the University of Washington and Eastern Washington University to "review existing recorded covenants and deed restrictions to identify those recorded documents that include racial or other restrictions on property ownership or use against protected classes that are unlawful under RCW 49.60.224. For properties subject to such racial and other unlawful restrictions, the universities shall provide notice to the property owner and to the county auditor of the county in which the property is located. The universities shall provide information to the property owner on how such provisions can be struck pursuant to RCW 49.60.227."

To fulfill our obligations under HB 1335, we are coordinating with the Auditor/Recorder office of each county to determine the best way to access and research records. The Washington State Association of County Auditors has urged members to work with us and is also preparing to handle the modification forms and deed redaction orders that are expected. Special thanks to Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton for taking the lead.

As revised by HB 1335 and HB 2514, RCW 49.60.224 encourages property owners to strike illegal and discriminatory language from deeds, restrictive covenants, and Home Owners Association documents by filing a Restrictive Covenant Modification form. The process is simple (see how). Alternately, property owners can seek a judgement in superior court that will physically remove the offensive wording.

Here is the final version of HB 1335