Eliminating Racist (and Other Discriminatory) CC&Rs Creates Inclusive Communities


Eliminating Racist (and Other Discriminatory) CC&Rs Creates Inclusive Communities

Ms. Zoe Ann Olson, Executive Director of the Intermountain Fair Housing Council

Ms. Zoe Ann Olson, Executive Director of the Intermountain Fair Housing Council, Inc.

Guest blog post by Zoe Ann Olson, Executive Director, Intermountain Fair Housing Council, Inc.

About a year ago, a homebuyer came into my office and showed me the Covenant, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs—which restrict what homeowners can and can’t do with their property) for a home that he wished to purchase that was part of a homeowner’s association. He was shocked to see that one provision said, “No persons other than persons of the White race may reside on the property except domestic servants of the owner or tenant,” and wondered if he could still purchase the home or have his friends visit. I told him that the CC&R term was illegal and discriminatory, we helped address the language, and he purchased the home.

Real estate agents have also brought these discriminatory CC&Rs to Intermountain Fair Housing Council (IFHC) concerned about the discriminatory language and the effect it may have on the purchase or sale of a home. In this post, I am going to talk about IFHC and share best practices for addressing discriminatory CC&Rs.

IFHC is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to ensure open and inclusive housing for all people. The IFHC’s purpose is to advance equal access to housing for all persons without regard to race, color, sex, religion, national origin, familial status, gender identity, sexual orientation, source of income, or disability. The IFHC attempts to eradicate discrimination through education of the fair housing laws, housing information and referrals, housing counseling, and enforcement including filing complaints under the federal Fair Housing Act. To this end, community members, including real estate agents, contact us for help.

Before we discuss best practices for addressing discriminatory CC&Rs, it is important to understand how we ended up with them. Until the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Shelley v. Kraemer in 1948, which made such discriminatory language illegal, many subdivisions included racist language that denied people of color access to housing. In the early 19th century and through the 1950s, these CC&Rs were required by lenders and insurers participating federal loan programs and sometimes by city, county, or state law. These racist CC&Rs were also reinforced by homeowner’s associations (HOAs), agents, and other private entities in the transaction process, in order to maintain “all white” neighborhoods.

If you own a home in a subdivision that was created before or during the 1950s, you might want to take a look at the CC&Rs for this boilerplate language, as it was used throughout the Treasure Valley, Idaho, and the United States. While the federal Fair Housing Act outlawed such policies and practices, the lack of its enforcement means that little has been done to reverse the deeply embedded residential patterns of segregation.

With 2018 marking the 50th Anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, it’s a great time to remind people of this issue and provide information on how to correct it. In addition to contacting IHFC forFair Housing Act_bug help, homeowners, potential buyers and sellers, and real estate agents can work together to address and eliminate discriminatory CC&Rs through the following best practices (not an exclusive list):

  1. Review the CC&Rs. If a discriminatory CC&R is identified, address it with the HOA board of directors, the HOA attorney, and/or an attorney who specializes in fair housing law… and if you’re a homeowner planning to sell your home, your real estate agent;
  2. Make sure your HOA attorney and the HOA board do not reaffirm the language;
  3. Follow your HOA rules for amending the CC&Rs, keeping in mind it may require a majority vote of the subdivision’s homeowners;
  4. If you can’t amend, adopt a resolution that the discriminatory provision is unenforceable. Make sure that every homeowner and the HOA have a copy of the resolution, and if the home is ever sold, that this resolution is provided to the buyers and all real estate agents involved in the transaction;
  5. If the home is sold before an amendment is made or a resolution is adopted, talk to the title companies involved in the transaction, as they may be able to have the language stricken;
  6. Check with Ada County Clerk’s Office about making changes to recorded documents;
  7. If you’re interested in learning more about this issue, read the Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein.

Engaging in best fair housing practices creates equitable housing for all, prevents most misunderstandings, and helps avoid fair housing violations. Owning a home in your neighborhood of choice is part of the American dream. Together, we can help make that a reality.

 

About the Author

Ms. Zoe Ann Olson has been the Executive Director of the Intermountain Fair Housing Council, Inc., for over five years. Ms. Olson has 14 years of experience as an attorney with Idaho Legal Aid Services, Inc., where she served as the Housing Specialty Chair and Fair Housing/Fair Lending Project Director. Ms. Olson has provided fair housing training for over 10 years and has been trained extensively on the issue of fair housing via John Marshall University, Seattle University, HUD, Accessibility First, National Consumer Law Center, National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA), and AARP. She served on the Board of Directors for the Idaho Law Foundation, is a member of the Diversity Law, Real Property Law, Animal Law Sections, and Government and Public Law Sections of the Idaho State Bar, and Idaho Woman Lawyers. She is also a member of the Urban Land Institute, the Boise City/Ada County Coalition for the Homeless, NAACP, NFHA, and Girl Scouts.

For more information, contact Intermountain Fair Housing Council Executive Director Zoe Ann Olson at 1-208-383-0695 (extension 306), email her at zolson@ifhcidaho.org, or visit IHFC’s website at ifhcidaho.org.

 

Want to learn more about Fair Housing?

BRR Reports on Boise’s Community Conversation Workshops

Growth imageLast month, the City of Boise held three Community Conversation Workshops to gather feedback from citizens to gain a deeper understanding of residents’ thoughts and priorities on growth; provide context to help update the city’s comprehensive plan, “Blueprint Boise”; and define a path forward that protects those things that make the city special.

You can read the city’s recap here, as the following is a summary of first-hand reports from BRR members and staff who attended.

“What a great event… and opportunity for us to gather the collective ideas of the awesomeness of Boise, and also the concerns about growth,” noted Gail Hartnett with Keller Williams Realty Boise.

Cameron Kinzer, BRR’s Government Affairs Specialist, said, “I’m glad the city officials who put these workshops together used a holistic approach that included discussion on the positive and negative aspects of growth. This exercise helped participants focus on what we value as a community, and what we want the Boise of the future to be like.”

The common themes reported by BRR staff and members were:

What is great about Boise? What are your concerns about growth?
Friendly People/Culture/
Boise is a “Welcoming City”
Transportation/Traffic/Lack of Infrastructure
Vicinity to Outdoor Activities/Greenbelt and Parks Affordability, including Housing
Strong Economy Urban Sprawl/Open Space/Farmland
Safety and Cleanliness Environmental Impact
Access to Elected Officials Need more Regional/Valley Agency Cooperation
Vibrant Downtown More to Boise than Downtown/North End

Dave Ferguson, with Ferguson Realty Group, reported that finding a balance between open space and private property rights was briefly mentioned, but that wages and access to rental housing seemed to be bigger concerns. “When the conversation turned to affordable housing, current wage rates were constantly brought up,” Ferguson reported, and said participants suggested the possibility of “creating private developer and city partnerships to address the rental housing shortage.”

Breanna Vanstrom, BRR’s Chief Executive Officer, said she was “surprised by the support for new housing, both infill and new development, as well as concerns about how divisive the anti-growth sentiment was becoming.” According to Vanstrom, one participant at her table said: “I get why people are frustrated with home prices and growth. I’ve been trying to buy a house for over a year and it’s been hard. But you can’t get mad about affordability, then on the other hand, yell online or at meetings against any new housing development. It’s not realistic.”

The inevitability of growth seemed to be an assumption shared by participants. As one newspaper reporter shared, in a follow-up interview to the workshops: “I think it has been pointed out, (if) you don’t grow, you die.”

The discussions at the workshops echoed this statement, but also expressed a desire for decisions about growth to be made in relation to a coordinated, forward-looking plan adopted by groups across the region. “Now is the time for the city councils, state legislature, and other agencies to come together to create common sense, proactive solutions,” added Kinzer.

More specifically, participants said that they didn’t want to “just build houses,” but rather, “create communities” to support the housing that is needed.

BRR whole-heartedly supports the idea of creating communities and will continue to form policy and promote initiatives rooted in smart, managed growth tactics. Therefore, we will be continuing this conversation with BRR members during the “Getting to Solutions on Community Growth” Listening Session at the Mid-Year Housing Summit on July 19th. If you’d like to be involved, secure your spot today. Seats are filling fast and there are only a few available spaces left.

2018 REALTORS® Legislative Meetings

Legislative Meetings Slider

BRR leadership and staff are in D.C. this week attending the 2018 REALTORS® Legislative Meetings where they will meet with Idaho’s Members of Congress and participate in association meetings. Follow along on this blog post, Facebook, and Twitter!

Here are four talking points from NAR that they will be sharing during their Hill visits. Click here to learn more about each topic.

  1. Supporting Strong Net Neutrality Protections
  2. National Flood Insurance Program
  3. Tax Policy
  4. Equal Access to Housing Opportunities

Check back for updates during the week!

PHOTO GALLERY


Monday


Tuesday


Wednesday Collage


Dr. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of Research for NAR, presented at the Residential Economic Issues & Trends Forum Thursday morning. One of his slides named Boise as one of the strongest U.S. job markets in the last three years. You can find his presentation and others at nar.realtor/research-and-statistics/research-presentations.

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On Saturday, May 19, 2018, BRR National Directors Gail Hartnett, Carey Farmer, and Large Firm Director Krista Deacon attended the Board of Directors Meeting. Learn more about the decisions that were made at that meeting at nar.realtor/internal-news-service-special-report-legislative-2018.

NAR BOD Meeting

Gail Hartnett was also honored on stage with an “Own It” Coin for her role as the Vice Chair for the Fair Housing Workgroup.

Gail Hartnett honored for Fair Housing


 

59 Minute Meeting Recap: The State of Garden City

5.1.18 59 Min Meeting Slider

We had another great turnout for our 59 Minute Meeting on May 1st! Thank you for joining us and engaging in conversations around local public policy issues.

Our guests were Garden City Mayor John Evans and Director of Development Services Jenah Thornborrow. Mayor Evans talked about some of Garden City’s stats; such as how it occupies just over four-square miles of land, six miles of river, and is home to over 2,000 businesses and 12,000 residents. The Boise River and three major highways run through Garden City: Chinden, State, and Glenwood.

The Mayor and Thornborrow also discussed new residential developments, a new charter school, partnerships between Garden City and the City of Boise for the whitewater park and the 36th Street bridge, and the possible future of the fairgrounds. The mayor mentioned the success they’ve seen in creating affordable housing by partnering with NeighborWorks Boise on several projects.

As numerous new businesses have sprouted up in town, residents and business owners are increasingly creating a sense of place by adding murals and art to otherwise blank buildings. The commercial growth in Garden City isn’t limited to new buildings, many businesses are creatively reusing existing spaces.

In the Surel Mitchell Live-Work-Create District, between 32nd and 37th streets on the north side of Chinden Blvd, the artistic community is thriving. The district features the greenbelt, Boise River, wineries, breweries, the Visual Arts Collective, and various other art studios and galleries.

The Q & A portion of the meeting focused on the fairgrounds, instant horse-racing initiative, and new developments along the river.

REALTOR® advocacy will continue to play an important role in planning as our region grows. Click here to learn how RPAC works to elect REALTOR® Champions who embrace smart growth principals, private property rights, and thoughtful community development strategies.

Additional resources:

Thank you again for joining us and be on the lookout for information regarding our next 59 Minute Meeting in the near future!

Vote in the Primary Election on May 15th!

REALTORS® are leaders in the community so it’s important that BRR members vote to make our voices heard. The Public Policy Committee at Boise Regional REALTORS® thoughtfully interviewed and vetted candidates to receive our association’s endorsement. Learn about the candidates and issues and then vote in the primary election on Tuesday, May 15th!

BRR has endorsed the following Ada County candidates:

Ada County Commissioner, District 1 —  Jim Tibbs

Ada County Commissioner, District 3 — Dave Case

Ada County Clerk — Phil McGrane

Ada County Assessor — Robert McQuade

Ada County Treasurer — Elizabeth Mahn

 

Ada County Endorsements

BRR has endorsed the following Gem County candidates:

Gem County Assessor — Hollie Ann Strang

Gem County Clerk — Shelly Tilton

Gem County Treasurer — Megan Keene

Gem County Endorsements

Elections will be held on Tuesday, May 15, 2018. For information on the candidates, registration, and where to vote, please visit idahovotes.govadacounty.id.gov/elections for Ada County, or gemcounty.org/elections for Gem County.

 

# # #

BRR’s Public Policy Committee extends invitations to all candidates running for office in Ada and Gem County, and the municipalities and agencies within each county. Candidates interested in being interviewed share their views on housing, private property rights, education, transportation, and other issues affecting the community. From there, the Public Policy Committee, made up of volunteer REALTORS®, provides a list of recommended endorsements which are reviewed and approved by BRR’s Board of Directors. For information regarding these local endorsements, please contact Soren Dorius, BRR Director of Government Affairs, at 208-947-7237 or soren@boirealtors.com.

Information about statewide races is available on the Idaho REALTORS® website at idahorealtors.com/your-voice-counts-important-voting-resources, or through the Idaho REALTORS® Government Affairs Director, Max Pond. He can be reached at 208-342-3585 or mpond@idahorealtors.com.

Boise Regional REALTORS® (BRR), is a 501(c)6 trade association, representing more than 4,500 real estate professionals throughout the Boise Region. Established in 1920, BRR is the largest local REALTOR® association in the state of Idaho, helping members achieve real estate success through ethics, professionalism, and connections. BRR has two wholly-owned subsidiaries, Intermountain MLS (IMLS) and the REALTORS® Community Foundation.

BRR Endorses Gem County Candidates

After thoughtful consideration of candidate interviews and questionnaire responses, Boise Regional REALTORS® (BRR) is pleased to announce the following candidate endorsements for the upcoming Primary Election in Gem County.

Gem County Assessor — Hollie Ann Strang

Gem County Clerk — Shelly Tilton

Gem County Treasurer — Megan Keene

Boise Regional REALTORS® recently expanded association benefits such as issue and political advocacy to REALTORS® in Gem County.

“Each year, we endorse and support qualified candidates who understand the housing industry and recognize the importance of investing in our communities,” said Gary Salisbury, 2018 President of Boise Regional REALTORS® and senior sales consultant with Equity Northwest Real Estate.

Elections will be held on Tuesday, May 15, 2018. For information on the candidates, registration, and where to vote, please visit idahovotes.gov or gemcounty.org/elections. Visit BRR’s website to see BRR’s Ada County endorsements. For information regarding these local endorsements, please contact Soren Dorius, BRR Director of Government Affairs, at 208-947-7237 or soren@boirealtors.com.

# # #

BRR’s Public Policy Committee extends invitations to all candidates running for office in Ada and Gem County, and the municipalities and agencies within each county. Candidates interested in being interviewed share their views on housing, private property rights, education, transportation, and other issues affecting the community. From there, the Public Policy Committee, made up of volunteer REALTORS®, provides a list of recommended endorsements which are reviewed and approved by BRR’s Board of Directors.

Information about statewide races is available on the Idaho REALTORS® website at idahorealtors.com/your-voice-counts-important-voting-resources, or through the Idaho REALTORS® Government Affairs Director, Max Pond. He can be reached at 208-342-3585 or mpond@idahorealtors.com.

Boise Regional REALTORS® (BRR), is a 501(c)6 trade association, representing more than 4,500 real estate professionals throughout the Boise Region. Established in 1920, BRR is the largest local REALTOR® association in the state of Idaho, helping members achieve real estate success through ethics, professionalism, and connections. BRR has two wholly-owned subsidiaries, Intermountain MLS (IMLS) and the REALTORS® Community Foundation.

BRR Endorses Ada County Candidates

After thoughtful consideration of candidate interviews and questionnaire responses, Boise Regional REALTORS® (BRR) is pleased to announce the following candidate endorsements for the upcoming Ada County Primary Election.

Ada County Commissioner, District 1 —  Jim Tibbs

Ada County Commissioner, District 3 — Dave Case

Ada County Clerk — Phil McGrane

Ada County Assessor — Robert McQuade

Ada County Treasurer — Elizabeth Mahn

“Each year we take pride in identifying qualified candidates to support throughout the election cycle. Often times it is a difficult decision, but ultimately, we select those who understand the housing industry and the importance of investing in our communities,” said Gary Salisbury, 2018 President of Boise Regional REALTORS® and senior sales consultant with Equity Northwest Real Estate.

Elections will be held on Tuesday, May 15, 2018. For information on the candidates, registration, and where to vote, please visit idahovotes.gov or adacounty.id.gov/elections. For information regarding these local endorsements, please contact Soren Dorius, BRR Director of Government Affairs, at 208-947-7237 or soren@boirealtors.com.

# # #

BRR’s Public Policy Committee extends invitations to all candidates running for office in Ada and Gem County, and the municipalities and agencies within each county. Candidates interested in being interviewed share their views on housing, private property rights, education, transportation, and other issues affecting the community. From there, the Public Policy Committee, made up of volunteer REALTORS®, provides a list of recommended endorsements which are reviewed and approved by BRR’s Board of Directors.

Information about statewide races is available on the Idaho REALTORS® website at idahorealtors.com/your-voice-counts-important-voting-resources, or through the Idaho REALTORS® Government Affairs Director, Max Pond. He can be reached at 208-342-3585 or mpond@idahorealtors.com.

Boise Regional REALTORS® (BRR), is a 501(c)6 trade association, representing more than 4,500 real estate professionals throughout the Boise Region. Established in 1920, BRR is the largest local REALTOR® association in the state of Idaho, helping members achieve real estate success through ethics, professionalism, and connections. BRR has two wholly-owned subsidiaries, Intermountain MLS (IMLS) and the REALTORS® Community Foundation.

Q1 2018 Advocacy Update

BRR friends,

We’ve had a great start to the year with our local advocacy efforts, and we’d like to share some highlights with you!

BRR Supports Local Schools graphicIn an effort to address the needs of our rapidly growing community, we endorsed and supported the proposed local school bonds in West Ada School District and Emmett Independent School District. We helped campaign on behalf of these districts by utilizing funds from our Corporate Ally Program, as well as NAR’s Issues Mobilization grant money that we were awarded.

Thanks to BRR’s campaign efforts, the West Ada School District bond received the two-thirds majority of “Yes” votes needed and narrowly passed! This means the district can build new schools and expand existing schools, addressing the needs of families moving into the area.

Due to a recent merger between BRR and the Emmett Valley Association of REALTORS®, Gem County is now part of our local advocacy jurisdiction. Emmett was unsuccessful in passing their bond, but our efforts didn’t go unnoticed or without positive impact. Supporting and campaigning on behalf of the Emmett Independent School District bond allowed us to make new friends and prove our commitment to the growth of their community.

We’ve also hosted successful fundraising events for our REALTOR® Political Action Committee (RPAC), raising over $80,000 so far this year. These events are incredibly important for our national, state, and local advocacy efforts. Case in point, BRR’s Public Policy Committee is currently in the process of interviewing candidates for countywide elected official positions in Ada and Gem counties, in order to identify and endorse REALTOR® Champions who will receive RPAC support in their campaigns. REALTOR® Champions are those who are committed to key issues that are impacting the housing industry and our fast-growing community.RPAC VIP Reception March 2018

Two recent recipients of BRR’s endorsement and RPAC dollars, Boise City Council members TJ Thomson and Holly Woodings, joined us for our RPAC VIP Reception last month. It was great opportunity to learn about issues the city is working on, and for those elected officials to hear about our industry directly from REALTORS®.

February 59 Minute Meeting Recap SliderLet’s not forget the quarterly “59 Minute Meeting” forum series, an exclusive event for our members where we get to hear from and discuss various topics of public policy interest with our guest speakers. In February, we hosted Cameron Arial, Director of Meridian Community Development; Clark Krause, Executive Director of Boise Valley Economic Partnership (BVEP); and Bobbi-Jo Meuleman, Director Idaho Department of Commerce, in an incredible discussion on economic growth in our region. This last 59 Minute Meeting was our most highly attended to date, with over 100 attendees! Keep the morning of May 1st open for our next 59 Minute Meeting!

One more thing! Our talented Director of Communications, Cassie Zimmerman, helped us create a fantastic infographic that highlights the tremendous success we experienced last year with our REALTOR® Party community grants. Check it out HERE and feel free to share it with your friends, family, and clients! There has never been a better time to be a member of the Boise Regional REALTORS®!

REALTORS Help Home Buyers, Sellers and Their Communities

These are just a few of the things we’ve been working on over the last few months. We’ve got a lot more coming in the months ahead, that we can’t wait to share with you. If you haven’t already, register your team or sponsor a hole for BRR YPN’s Pub ‘N’ Putt on April 14th, benefitting RPAC, and join us for a fun day of mini golf!

We’ll be sharing live updates from NAR’s annual Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo as we learn about upcoming initiatives and policies, so let us know if you have questions or are interested in learning more.

The goal of our advocacy efforts is always to benefit your business and our community, and we appreciate your support in that. If you have any questions or need assistance, let us know!

Soren & Cameron

BRR Secured More Than $76,000 in REALTOR® Party Grants in 2017

REALTORS Help Home Buyers, Sellers and Their Communities

This infographic was developed to highlight BRR’s various advocacy wins funded by REALTOR® Party Grants secured in 2017, and show how REALTORS® who are involved with RPAC do more than help consumers buy and sell homes. Feel free to print and share with clients!

59 Minute Meeting Recap: Future Economic Growth of the Boise Region

February 59 Minute Meeting Recap Slider

We had a full crowd on hand for our first 59 Minute Meeting of 2018! Thanks to all those who showed up and participated in our discussion focused on future economic growth in the Boise Region. Our panel of speakers included Cameron Arial, Director of Meridian Community Development; Clark Krause, Executive Director of Boise Valley Economic Partnership (BVEP); and Bobbi-Jo Meuleman, Director Idaho Department of Commerce.

Each speaker touched on the economic growth forecast from their own unique perspective and highlighted the challenges that come along with it. They also discussed the recent announcement by the US Census Bureau that declared Idaho as the fastest-growing state in the union and how that plays into the overall economic picture.

Not only is the economy in the Boise Region booming, wage increases are following suit. All industries have shown a 13% jump in wage growth during the period of 2010 – 2016 with average salaries jumping from $38k to $43k a year.

The Q & A portion of the meeting focused on growth and the underlying factors behind it. Our speakers made it clear that if residents want a voice in how the Boise Region continues to grow, they need to become more engaged in city council and planning meetings. All meeting information is publicly available on city websites throughout Ada and Gem County.

REALTOR® advocacy will continue to play a vital role in planning as the Boise Region continues to grow with economic opportunity. Click here to learn how RPAC works to elect REALTOR® champions who embrace smart growth principals, private property rights, and thoughtful community development strategies.

Thank you again for joining us, and be on the lookout for information regarding our next 59 Minute Meeting in the near future!