The Betton Hills Neighborhood Is Pushing For Removal Of Discriminatory Housing Language

Jul 3, 2019

Real Estate Contracts
Credit Ngampol / Adobe Stock

A Betton Hills home owners association clause written in the 1930’s has resurfaced and reignited the  issue of housing segregation. 

Local attorney Anabelle Diaz discovered the document with discriminatory language as she sought to purchase a Betton Hills house. It was included in the title history report on the property and prohibited the sale of homes in the neighborhood to African Americans.

Diaz's spokesperson, Tykeise Oliver, says the ramifications from the discrimintory practice can still be felt today.

“One of the necessary aspects of the accumulation of wealth in America is the ability to own a home and so when you have covenants like these although they may be outdated and may no longer be enforceable," he said. "They still have had an impact and have negatively affected communities of colors ability to succeed socioeconomically.”

Language in clauses, or covanents,  like the one Diaz found were common in the 1930s and made it harder for people of color to purchase homes, which limited their opportunities for  economic advancement. President of the Betton Hills Neighborhood Association Mike Brezin says the language was tied to an old federal housing loan program. He worries that could legally complicate things.

“We are trying to find out some processes and work with other, involved people here in Tallahassee that are concerned about this to try to work out what is a process that we can use to get those old covenants dropped from the process so the person that’s buying the house doesn’t have to read through it anymore,” he said.

The discriminatory practice was legal until the passage of the 1968 Fair Housing Act, which banned race discrimination in housing. It seems the Betton Hills covenant was overlooked and never removed.