Racially Restrictive Covenants

A recent law allows the Auditor's Office to provide landowners a document to strike the racially restrictive language from their titles at no cost.

While racially restrictive covenants are not valid or enforceable, many property owners choose to strike the language to ensure they don't pass on from buyer to buyer. The modification document available below legally strikes the void and unlawful, discriminatory provisions from the original document.

Restrictive Covenant Modification Documents


Where are known neighborhoods with racially restrictive covenants in Thurston County?
‚ÄčThere are six subdivisions that have been indentified to have unlawful racially restrictive covenants in Thurston County. It is possible there are additional parcels impacted by racially restrictive language.

The documents linked to below contain racially insensitive language that may be upsetting.


1. Beachcrest

Plat map with racially restrictive covenant

Reference number/File number: 434833 

Recording Date: 05/05/1948



2. Lake St. Clair Summer Home Tracts

Plat map

Neighborhood covenants with racial restrictions

Reference number/File number: 403989 

Recording Date: 03/15/1946 



3. Scotts

Plat map with racially restrictive covenant

Reference number/File number: 496431 

Recording Date: 12/06/1951



4. Stratford Park

Plat map with racially restrictive covenant

Reference number/File number: 481003 

Recording Date: 01/16/1951



5. Stratford Place Annex

Plat map with racially restrictive covenant

Reference number/File number: 305119 

Recording Date: 04/01/1938



6. Stratford Place Annex No 2.

Plat map with racially restrictive covenant

Reference number/File number: 428516 

Recording Date: 12/01/1947



How to complete a restrictive covenant modification form

Here are the steps to follow if:
  • A recorded document in your property's title chain contains a racially restrictive covenant and
  • You want to record a modification document
1.  You will need the following information about your property:
  • Recording number of the original document containing the racially restrictive covenant. You can find the recording number for known documents with racially restrictive language in Thurston County in the section above labeled "Where are known neighborhoods with racially restrictive covenants in Thurston County?" It is not necessary to obtain the recording number for any later document repeating the terms of the original document or referencing its recording number.

  • Recording date of the original document containing the racially restrictive covenant. You can find the recording dates for known documents with racially restrictive language in Thurston County in the section above labeled "Where are known neighborhoods with racially restrictive covenants in Thurston County?"

  • The names of all current property owners (you and any co-owners).

  • The tax parcel number for your property. You can find the parcel number for your property using GeoData.org's "Property Map."

  • Both full and abbreviated legal description of your property.
     
    • You can find the abbreviated legal description for your property using GeoData.org's "Property Map."

    • The full legal description on the latest deed filed for your property. If you do not have a copy of your latest deed, you can find it using the Auditor Office's Online Record Index and search by your name or parcel number. You can also contact a title company for assistance, although charges may apply.
       
    • Note: Auditor's staff are unable provide legal descriptions over the phone.
2. Fill out the Restrictive Covenant Modification Document with the information above but do not sign it yet. 

3. Take the document and a government-issued photo ID (for example, a driver's license or passport) to a licensed notary public. Sign the document in the presence of the notary.

There may be a charge to have the document notarized. No-cost notary services are oftentimes available at your financial institution. Notary services are not available at the Auditor's Office.

No-cost notary services for racially restrictive covenant modification forms are available at:
4. Submit the completed, signed document to the Auditor's Office Recording Division for recording. You can bring the document to our office in person or mail it to:

Thurston County Auditor
Recording Department
2000 Lakeridge Dr. SW
Olympia WA 98502

 5. Please include a return address so we can return the recorded document to you for your records, and a phone number in case we need to contact you with questions. There is no charge to record the document.



How can I research my own property to see if it is impacted by a racially restrictive covenant?
Two sources can help you determine if a racially restrictive covenant is related to your property.

1. Land title records maintained by the Thurston County Auditor's Office.

These records are public, so you can search them for free. Some records are available in the Online Records Index. All recorded documents are available for research in-person at the Thurston County Auditor's Office. This can be a complex process and fees are charged for copies.

If we don't have a digital image of the document you're looking for, we will most likely have it on microfilm.

2. Your owner's title insurance policy.

This is typically issued at the same time the property is purchased. A title insurance policy identifies documents appearing in the public records that affect title to the property.

Your policy may reference deeds recorded decades ago, or covenant documents affecting an entire subdivision. You may be able to request copies from the title company that issued your title policy, although a fee may be charged. You may also use the recording information in your title policy to get copies from the Auditor's Office.