Discriminatory Covenants: What Licensees Can Do
As a real estate licensee, you know it is essential to conduct a title search on every listing, to ascertain who owns the property, the status of the property (i.e. fee simple or leasehold) and any encumbrances against the property. But do you know what to do if, in the course of conducting a title search, you find a covenant that restricts the sale, ownership, or use of a property based on race, colour, or nationality?
Any provisions in restrictive covenants that are racist or discriminatory were declared void and of no effect in 1978, through an amendment to the Land Title Act. The Registrar of Land Titles is authorized to amend the register and record to show that any discriminatory covenant is cancelled.
Whenever you find a covenant with discriminatory provisions while conducting a title search, you should bring it to the attention of your clients. Let them know that those provisions in the covenant are void, and that they can make a request to the Land Title and Survey Authority of BC (LTSA) to have the cancellation indicated in the land title records. There is no customer fee for the cancellation of a discriminatory covenant.
Owners may submit requests to the registrar:
- Online through the LTSA Customer Service Centre.
- In writing by mail addressed to Registrar, New Westminster Land Title Office, Suite 300-88 Sixth Street, New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada, V3L 5B3.
The request should include the legal description and/or parcel identification number (PID) of the lands affected by the discriminating covenant, and the registration number of the covenant.