Housing on Long Island Just Became More Inclusive

Jan 19, 2022

Committed to the mission of Fair Housing for ALL, in 2020 and 2021, Long Island Board of REALTORS® (LIBOR) worked with both the Nassau and Suffolk County legislatures, respectively, to create a bill that allows homeowners to remove covenants from their property deeds—covenants that once prohibited people from certain racial and religious backgrounds from buying property on Long Island.

During the twentieth century, racially-restrictive deeds were a pervasive part of real estate transactions. Covenants were embedded in property deeds all over the country to keep people who were not white from buying or even occupying land.

In the 1930s, federal housing administrators’ endorsed covenants, requiring them for projects that used federally-backed financing. Lenders followed suit, accepting the rationale that covenants provided essential insurance for their investments in residential property. Banks made it a routine practice to "redline" or deny loans for properties in racially-mixed neighborhoods.

A civil rights case was launched prompting the Supreme Court to rule in the landmark 1948 case- Shelley v. Kramer-that covenants were unenforceable; and Congress banned these racial restrictions as part of the Fair Housing Act of 1968. While they remain unenforceable, they still live in housing deeds to this very day.

Thanks to County legislators, removing these restrictive covenants from your deed is now easy and free. 

To celebrate this momentous change, LIBOR has launched a social media public awareness campaign on this action to inform homeowners of their new potential covenant removal option and reaffirm to all that racially and religious restrictive language is illegal and unconstitutional. LIBOR looks forward to further strengthening communities with equal access to homeownership.

Visit for resources on how restrictive covenants can be removed from your deed in your respective county, and how you can help us spread the word! #GoodbyeCovenants