HomeEconomyLocal NewsHouse Bill 2288 advances fair housing practices

House Bill 2288 advances fair housing practices

The new law works to remove discriminatory covenants from property documents to create more equitable housing environments by ensuring these covenants do not have legal standing. Julie Smith, Oklahoma Association of Realtors board president, speaks about the bill’s impact on Oklahoma real estate.

The new law works to remove discriminatory covenants from property documents to create more equitable housing environments by ensuring these covenants do not have legal standing. Julie Smith, Oklahoma Association of Realtors board president, speaks about the bill’s impact on Oklahoma real estate.

What are the details of House Bill 2288?
Oklahoma recently adopted legislation, known as House Bill 2288, allowing for the removal of already illegal, discriminatory property covenants. These covenants were historically used to uphold racial segregation within neighborhoods with many still in existence today.

Before, although legally unenforceable, these covenants were transferred to new owners during property acquisitions because no removal mechanism existed in Oklahoma. Now, potential buyers can effectively remove any discriminatory covenants from their property documents.

Why is the passage of House Bill 2288 significant for both renters, buyers, sellers and Realtors?
For renters and buyers, the legislation ensures fair housing practices by removing discriminatory covenants that may repel potential buyers due to outdated language that is no longer enforceable. This helps create a more inclusive housing market.

For sellers, the removal of these covenants eliminates delays and shadows that may have cast a negative light on the homebuying process. With the enactment of HB 2288, property owners now have the opportunity to voluntarily submit a form to the county, effectively severing and removing any discriminatory covenants from their property documents. Realtors can now facilitate transactions without the complications and implications associated with discriminatory covenants.

Why are we seeing this legislation now? What led up to this?
The legislation is being enacted now because it addresses a long-standing issue that has persisted not just in Oklahoma, but across the United States. Although discriminatory property covenants became legally unenforceable due to Supreme Court rulings and federal law, their removal from property documents was not previously addressed. The absence of a removal mechanism meant that these covenants were still being transferred to new owners during property acquisitions.

The introduction of HB 2288 was a response to this ongoing problem and aimed to rectify it by providing a formal process for removal. While this issue has existed for years, states have just begun pursuing this process in recent years and Oklahoma, while not the first, is one of the early states to pass such legislation into law.

How will this benefit Oklahoma?
The passage of HB 2288 benefits Oklahoma by promoting fair housing practices. By officially removing discriminatory covenants from property documents, the legislation helps create a more inclusive housing market in the state and reflects our values as a people. It ensures that these outdated and discriminatory practices are no longer perpetuated and that potential buyers are not deterred by language that is no longer legally enforceable. Ultimately, it fosters a more positive and transparent homebuying process.

What else do we need to know about HB 2288 that we haven’t discussed?
One additional aspect to note about HB 2288 is that it was championed by the Oklahoma Association of Realtors. OAR played a crucial role in advocating for the legislation and worked closely with state legislators to emphasize its importance for the future of housing in Oklahoma. Their efforts, along with the support of key individuals such as Representatives John Pfeiffer, Daniel Pae and Eric Roberts, Senators Brent Howard, Joe Newhouse and George Young, House Leader Cyndi Munson and Edmond Mayor Darrell Davis, contributed to the successful passage of the bill.

This collaboration between the OAR and various stakeholders highlights the collective commitment to addressing the issue of discriminatory covenants and promoting fair housing practices in Oklahoma.

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