Oklahoma City -— In a significant stride toward ever-fairer housing practices, Oklahoma has adopted legislation allowing for the removal of already illegal, discriminatory property covenants, historically used to uphold racial segregation within neighborhoods with many still in existence today.
Julie Smith, 2023 President of the Oklahoma Association of REALTORS® (OAR), affirmed, “Oklahoma REALTORS® have been at the forefront of the drive for H.B. 2288’s passage. This victory is a tremendous milestone for Oklahoma and is a significant stride toward fairer housing in our state.”
Although legally unenforceable due to Supreme Court rulings and subsequent federal law, these covenants are transferred to new owners during property acquisitions because no removal mechanism exists in Oklahoma. H.B. 2288 creates a mechanism to officially extinguish and sever these covenants from deeds and abstracts.
Josh Woodward, Chair of the OAR Government Affairs Committee, emphasizes the adverse impact of discriminatory covenants on property sales and values, as they repel potential buyers with language that is no longer enforceable. “In Oklahoma, these covenants often remain undiscovered until property closings, leading to delays and casting a shadow over the homebuying process,” Woodward explains. “With the enactment of HB2288, property owners will have the opportunity to voluntarily submit a form to the county, effectively severing and removing any discriminatory covenants from their property documents.”
Jessica Hickok, CEO of OAR, commended the tireless efforts of OAR’s Government Affairs Committee and Team, who stayed in consistent contact with state legislators to emphasize the importance of HB2288 for the future of housing in Oklahoma. “Their unwavering commitment to advocating for this legislation has been instrumental,” says Hickok.
The Oklahoma Association of REALTORS® extended, in a press release, its gratitude to everyone involved in the passage of this historic legislation – specifically Representatives John Pfeiffer, Daniel Pae, and Eric Roberts, Senators Brent Howard, Joe Newhouse, and George Young, House Minority Leader Cyndi Munson, and Edmond Mayor Darrell Davis for their pivotal roles in championing this cause.
About the Oklahoma Association of REALTORS® . OAR describes itself, in publicity material, as an organization that "connects real estate professionals across the state by providing comprehensive professional resources, maintaining the highest ethical standards and giving REALTORS® a unified voice in shaping Oklahoma real estate property laws and regulations. Learn more about OAR by visiting www.okrealtors.com. Get all OAR updates by following on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn".
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