Bulletin: NY000095

Date:
August 11, 1995
To:
New York State Counsel, Managers and Agents
RE:
Handling Discriminatory Restrictive Covenants

Dear Associates:

Please see National Legal Department Bulletin NL000050 , which addresses the issue of illegal discriminatory restrictive covenants.

In New York, General Obligations Law §5-331 prohibits discrimination in terms or covenants in deeds, mortgages and other instruments affecting real estate, based on race, creed, color, national origin, or ancestry. Such provisions are void as against public policy and unenforceable.

The applicable federal statute (42 U.S.C. §3604(c)), more narrowly deals with the sale or rental of housing. The relevant part of the statute reads as follows:

"...it shall be unlawful.....(c) To make, print, or publish, or cause to be made, printed, or published any notice, statement, or advertisement, with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling that indicates any preference, limitation, or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin, or an intention to make any such preference, limitation, or discrimination."

This federal statute has been interpreted by the Justice Department as prohibiting title companies from showing the discriminatory terms of prohibited restrictions.

The instructions in the National Bulletin must be followed in New York, with one exception: because the statutes overlap, where a covenant contains other terms which must be excepted, do not raise the exception as shown in NL000050 , use one of the forms below instead:

R-9 Covenants and Restrictions in (Liber, R.L., Reel) _____(C)p _____, but no reference is made hereby to any provision therein imposing restrictions based on race, color, religion or creed, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, or ancestry, as such restrictions are void and unenforceable under New York law or federal law, or both.

R-9.1 Restrictive covenants in (Liber, R.L., Reel) _____ (C)p _____, except for restrictions which are void and unenforceable under New York law or federal law, or both.

If copies of covenants are provided, any discriminatory covenants must be blanked out in the copies.

THIS BULLETIN IS FURNISHED TO INFORM YOU OF CURRENT DEVELOPMENTS. AS A REMINDER, YOU ARE CHARGED WITH KNOWLEDGE OF THE CONTENT ON VIRTUAL UNDERWRITER  AS IT EXISTS FROM TIME TO TIME AS IT APPLIES TO YOU, AS WELL AS ANY OTHER INSTRUCTIONS. OUR UNDERWRITING AGREEMENTS DO NOT AUTHORIZE OUR ISSUING AGENTS TO ENGAGE IN SETTLEMENTS OR CLOSINGS ON BEHALF OF STEWART TITLE GUARANTY COMPANY. THIS BULLETIN IS NOT INTENDED TO DIRECT YOUR ESCROW OR SETTLEMENT PRACTICES OR TO CHANGE PROVISIONS OF APPLICABLE UNDERWRITING AGREEMENTS. CONFIDENTIAL, PROPRIETARY, OR NONPUBLIC PERSONAL INFORMATION SHOULD NEVER BE SHARED OR DISSEMINATED EXCEPT AS ALLOWED BY LAW. IF APPLICABLE STATE LAW OR REGULATION IMPOSES ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS, YOU SHOULD CONTINUE TO COMPLY WITH THOSE REQUIREMENTS.

References

Bulletins Replaced:
None
Related Bulletins:
NL000050 This Bulletin has been replaced by NL000069.
Underwriting Manual:
3.76 Covenants, Conditions, And Restrictions
Exceptions Manual:
NY Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions
Forms:
None