***NEW INFO FOR MINNEAPOLIS RESIDENTS*** As of March 3, 2021, the city of Minneapolis has teamed up with the Just Deeds Project in order to help residents renounce their properties’ covenants. Our neighbors in the Pennhurst and Pennhurst Second Addition developments of Armatage and Kenny—detailed below—can still follow our steps in order to complete the process. We recommend that other Minneapolis residents renounce their covenants through the city’s Just Deeds page. If you are unsure how to locate the information needed to renounce a covenant, our steps may be helpful to anyone in Hennepin County.***
Thank you for choosing to renounce racism in your community. One way Minnesotans may do this is by discharging racially restrictive language from their home’s certificate of title.
Some homeowners can still find the racial covenants in their titles. Many current titles, however, include a reference to the covenant and not the racist language itself. Covenants were usually added to homes’ original deeds, copies of which are stored in Hennepin County’s archives. For historical purposes, that language will never be completely wiped from the county’s records. This process gives homeowners an opportunity to renounce the covenants by removing them or references to them from current titles.
The easiest way to renounce a home’s covenant is by contacting Golden Valley’s Just Deeds Project, which is helping people across Hennepin County complete the process.
We worked with Just Deeds and followed these steps in order to discharge discriminatory covenants from our properties:
1.) DOES YOUR HOME HAVE A RACIAL COVENANT?
To learn whether a racial covenant was placed on your property, go to Mapping Prejudice’s website by clicking here. Scroll down the page to the map of Minneapolis. Click on “Explore” at the top of the map. Find properties by either zooming in or typing the address into the search bar. (We also verified our covenants with Just Deeds.) If your home has had a covenant, please continue onto the next steps.
2.) IS YOUR HOME ABSTRACT OR TORRENS?
Hennepin County properties are classified as either Abstract or Torrens. (Most properties in Armatage and nearby neighborhoods are Torrens.) You can find your home’s classification by searching the address on the county’s property tax website here.
a.) If you have an Abstract Property, refer to Just Deeds for assistance. The process for renouncing a covenant on Abstract Properties requires assistance from their team of volunteer attorneys.
b.) For Torrens properties, we followed the steps below to obtain our homes’ Parcel ID, covenant document number, and Torrens certificate number in order to complete the process.
3.) LOCATE YOUR HOME’S PARCEL ID
Your Parcel ID (also known as Property ID) can be found on your tax bill or by searching your address on the Hennepin County property tax website.
4.) LOCATE YOUR COVENANT’S DOCUMENT NUMBER
The covenant’s document number is found on the property’s original deed. The only copy of the deed might be in Hennepin County’s archives, but it’s possible to find the document number from home:
a.) If the property is within Pennhurst Second Addition (Penn Avenue to Humboldt Circle between 55th and 56th Streets), the document number is 2416283.
b.) If the property is within the original Pennhurst development (Penn Avenue to Humboldt Avenue between 54th and 55th Streets), the document number is 214574.
c.) If you live elsewhere in Hennepin County, contact Just Deeds. Their volunteer attorneys will locate the number for you for free.
5.) LOCATE YOUR TORRENS CERTIFICATE NUMBER
To obtain the Torrens certificate number, you may find it printed in the paperwork for your home’s warranty deed.
Otherwise, you may call Hennepin County’s Registrar of Titles at 612-348-5139 and request your property’s Torrens certificate number. A representative will provide the number over the phone.
6.) SEND AN EMAIL
Once you have collected the above information, send an email to the Examiner of Titles (firstname.lastname@example.org) requesting an examiner’s directive. This process is free.
We used this email template provided by Just Deeds:
I am writing to request an examiner’s directive removing the racially restrictive covenant contained in document number ___________ because the covenant is no longer enforceable under Minnesota Statutes, section 507.18, the Minnesota Constitution, and the United States Constitution. The property information is as follows:
- Torrens Certificate No.:
- Parcel ID:
Thank you for your help. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Hennepin County’s Deputy Examiner of Titles will issue an examiner’s directive to delete the stain of these restrictive covenants from your certificate of title. You will receive an uncertified copy of the directive via email until a new certificate of title is issued.
If you’d like to take the next step in the reparations process, please sign up for our monthly emails announcing actions you may take to help communities still afflicted by the covenants’ legacy. Neighbors with or without covenants are encouraged to participate! Click here to subscribe.