In Texas, some older real estate deeds may contain provisions claiming that a parcel of property cannot be transferred to—or used by—certain classes of people simply because of their race, color, religion, or nationality.
But, under Texas law, discriminatory provisions in a property deed are void. They cannot be enforced. Here, learn how to remove discriminatory provisions from deeds and other official real property transfer documents.
How do I know if my deed contains a discriminatory provision?
Study your deed. TexasLawHelp's I want to remove a discriminatory deed provision guide explains how to get a copy if you do not have one on file.
A "discriminatory provision" would forbid the transfer to, or use by, certain classes of people. Expect the discriminatory language to be blatant and focused on race, color, religion, or nationality.
If you do not have a copy of your deed, you can get one. Contact the tax appraisal office and county clerk’s office in the county where the property is located. The conveyance instrument that contains the discriminatory provision should be on file in the county clerk's office.
What is the legal effect of an order removing a restrictive provision?
Racially discriminatory deed restrictions are illegal in Texas, and cannot be enforced. See Texas Property Code 5.026. The restrictions may nonetheless still be there on paper. The court can order such provisions removed.
The order removing a discriminatory deed provision is a “finding of fact and conclusion of law” that goes on file in the county clerk’s office along with the other documents affecting that piece of land.
This means that a judge has determined that the discriminatory language was there; is void and not enforceable, and is considered to be removed from the conveyance instrument (usually the deed).
Who can apply for removal of a discriminatory provision from a recorded conveyance instrument?
Two types of people can file a petition to remove the discriminatory provision:
- the person who owns the real property, or
- another person (ideally a lawyer) with the permission of the owner.
This applies when the "chain of title"—the history of who has owned the property—includes a document with a discriminatory provision in it.
Where do I file a petition to remove a discriminatory deed provision?
File a petition to remove a discriminatory provision in the district or county clerk's office in the county where the land is.
How much does it cost to file a petition to remove a discriminatory deed provision?
Nothing. A court clerk may not collect a filing fee for filing a petition to remove a discriminatory restriction in a deed.
If you need a new, certified copy of your deed from the county clerk's office, ask your county about their fees.
Are there forms for removing discriminatory deed provisions?
Yes, there are forms for removing discriminatory deed provisions. TexasLawHelp offers them as part of this guide: I want to remove a discriminatory provision from my deed.
You can also draft them yourself because the law includes the information that needs to go into the form. See Texas Property Code 5.0621.
Or, you can hire a lawyer to draft them for you. For help finding a lawyer, use TexasLawHelp's Legal Help Directory.
Discriminatory Deed Provisions
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Learn about property deeds in Texas.
This article provides information on restrictive covenants and other deed restrictions.
This article explains how to find out the owner and management of any residence you lease in Texas.
This article tells you about contracts for deed.
Information on what type of services a court can offer.
CRP-DDP-100-Petition to Remove Discriminatory Deed Provision