Edina, Minn., April 20, 2021 – The City of Edina is working to join the Just Deeds Project to help homeowners who need free legal and title services to renounce discriminatory covenants from their property titles.
In the past, discriminatory covenants were used to keep people of color from buying houses in certain Minnesota neighborhoods. According to the University of Minnesota project Mapping Prejudice, approximately 2,800 residential properties in Edina have racially restrictive covenants in their deeds. Several City-owned properties have them, too.
In 2019, the Minnesota Legislature passed a law to allow property owners to renounce the covenants on their properties. The Golden Valley Human Rights Commission started the Just Deeds Project, which provides free legal and title services to help property owners find covenants and discharge them from their property titles. In October 2020, the Golden Valley City Council passed a resolution officially joining the Just Deeds coalition – a group of cities, attorneys, real estate and title companies working together to dismantle systemic racism in housing. Since then, the cities of Golden Valley, Robbinsdale, New Hope, Crystal, Minnetonka, Minneapolis, Hopkins and Rochester have joined the coalition. Along with Edina, the cities of St. Louis Park and Richfield are also working to join.
“The process of renouncing racially restrictive covenants in Edina is one step that community members and the City can take to acknowledge the history of the city and the impact of those covenants,” said Race & Equity Coordinator Heidi Lee. “There has been support from community members who want the City to participate in the Just Deeds Project. City staff members want to be intentional in the implementation and sustainability of this program and the impact of racially restrictive covenants on the City and community.”
Check the Mapping Prejudice tool at bit.ly/EdinaRacialCovenants to see if a covenant was found on your property. If one exists, you can hire your title company to discharge it from your property deed. Note that fees vary. Those who are interested in free services to renounce a restrictive covenant should fill out the Just Deeds interest form at EdinaMN.gov/RenouncingCovenants. It is anticipated that the Edina City Council may take formal actual to join the Just Deeds Project in May. Those who fill out the interest form will be contacted once Edina is officially part of the coalition.
To keep up to date on the work to renounce racial covenants in Edina, sign up for Race & Equity Advancement emails under “City Government” at EdinaMN.gov/CityExtra. For more information on the Just Deeds Project, visit www.justdeeds.org.