Bill to Remove Racist Housing Deeds Approved by State Legislature

 

September 9, 2021

The California State Legislature has approved Assembly Bill 721 which removes exclusionary and racist provisions in housing covenants.

"AB 721 is a crucial step in remedying California's painful history of segregation and redlining," said Assembly-member Bloom who authored the bill. "Racist housing covenants have no place in our state and should not be used to deter critically needed affordable housing,"

Approved late last week, the new bill provides property owners with a process to remove exclusionary language in housing deeds to allow for more affordable and supportive housing that is consistent with local zoning.

The measure proposes that a property owner who commits to building 100% affordable units for lower income households may build as many units as the local zoning code and land use laws would allow, Bloom said.

Until the mid-twentieth century, racially restrictive covenants were a tool used to bar communities of color from inhabiting certain neighborhoods, said Bloom in a press release. While court decisions and the California Legislature have nullified racial restrictions in housing deeds, density restrictions in the same deeds "remain enforceable and have the practical effect of redlining neighborhoods."


Bloom stressed that limits on the size and the number of units that can be built on a property act as clear barriers to the development of affordable and supportive housing.

"Currently, housing projects in areas suitable for multi-family units are unnecessarily blocked by discriminatory housing deeds," said Bloom. "AB 721 ensures that moving forward, those who no longer reside on a property cannot override local land use and stifle housing production. This bill is a much-needed measure in helping address our housing crisis."


The new bill was sent to Governor Gavin Newsom for his signature.

 

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